Current environ

Hearing/reading news about Nabra has me shaken. Sure, part of it is because she was from Reston, the first east coast town we lived in when we made our big move. Sure, part of it is because it happened in Fairfax County, a county I currently live in (and am beginning to love). But, mostly because her murder is senseless, cowardly, and horrible. There are too many stories out there like this. Too many.

Put this against a backdrop of the recent London attacks (another one last night!), another police murder of a black person, and the Philando Castile verdict… and I’m mad. So much fear and ignorance and people making assumptions and not listening to each other. I’m disheartened because it feels like we, as humans, are taking giant steps backwards in our evolution. I’m irritated because our “leaders” aren’t leading.

All this to say, I’m going to take care of what I can. I’m going to do what I can, practice kindness and understanding. Allow empathy and compassion. Act in civil and peaceful ways to get stuff done.

Be good humans.


Five things for the week

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Sunday breakfast tacos
  1. “We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.”  – Joan Didion
  2. “If you can fall in love again and again… if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical… you’ve got it half licked.” – Henry Miller
  3. I’m working on re-establishing a photo hub. Somewhere along the line, most likely because I got lazy with my photography workflow, I moved away form having one. My photos are all over the place, mostly in cloud storage. This needs to be cleaned up.
  4. I love what Kristyn Leach is doing.
  5. Spark” by Violents & Monica Martin.

How I Work, 2017

It’s been two years so, time for an update.

Inspired by Lifehacker’s ongoing series called “How I Work”. And so, with a hat tip to Lifehacker, this is how I work…

Location: Washington, DC
Current Gig: Director, Program Technologies at SOI, college student
One word that best describes how you work: Dedicated
Current mobile device: iPhone 6s+, 9.7″ iPad Pro, Surface Pro 4
Current computer: 13” Macbook Pro Retina, 14” Dell  Latitude E7470

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? My most used apps are Evernote, Instapaper, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr. I like using Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Dropbox. I prefer using Safari and Firefox over Chrome and others. For photo organizing and editing I use Apple’s Photos software which seems to meet my needs just fine. It also forces to me to concentrate more on making a better picture to begin with (that requires lest post editing).


What is your workspace setup like? I have a sit/stand desk in the office, with dual monitors and a docking station (pic above). I actually prefer a Windows environment at work (macOS and iOS at home/school). I also travel about once a month.


What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack? I find myself using a basic writing method as my overall approach to work. I’ll work from a brainstorm>outline>rough draft>x number drafts>final. I find ways to apply this to anything (not just writing). It’s the first step, the brainstorm, that I really enjoy. Just getting the initial idea written/sketched/drawn/typed is quite the accomplishment for me. Once that happens, the rest comes easy.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? I keep my to-do list with Evernote. Each week I start a new note, each for home, work, and school. Then one row for each day of the week. In each cell I add the checkboxes with tasks for each day. This works for me for many reasons but mainly because 1) it’s easy to move tasks between days during the week, if needed and, 2) I like planning a week at a time. I also rely on the Reminders and Notes apps (iOS).

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why? I can never limit this to just one gadget. My Kindle Paperwhite is very important. I also rely heavily on my Mophie Powerstation Plus and Jackery Giant+ while traveling. I currently photograph with a Fujifilm X100T and a XT1.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret? I’m still working to figure this out. I pride myself in being a very quick learner. I really enjoy learning from others but, my impatience has a tendency to get in the way of that. Something I continually work on.

What do you listen to while you work? Podcasts. A lot of them. A lot. So many that I’m always behind. If I’m not in the mood for podcasts, I’ll listen to a pop, alternative, or classic rock internet radio station. If I really need to focus, I find that I work best in complete silence. On occasion I’ll keep a k-pop playlist going in the background, just for fun.

What are you currently reading? I’m one of those who has a lot of books going at once, which is why I love my Kindle. Instead of having physical books scattered around the house I now have them all on one place. And, it’s much easier for me to jump between books. I always have at least one fiction and one non-fiction book going at all times. I have a long list of “to read” books that I will never, ever get through (which is good). There are so many great books out there! I’m also reading a few technical manuals and white papers (work) and my textbook (school). I read in spurts so, depending on what’s going on in my life, I can finish books in just a few days or take as long as a few months.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? Introvert to the core. I’m a living, breathing introvert cliché.

What is your sleep routine like? While home, I average between 6-7 hours. While traveling, it’s more like 4-6 hours. I’ve actually been paying more attention to sleeping well, lately. The hardest part is not reading on a bright screen right before I go to sleep. I would also love to begin incorporating naps into my day but, yeah… not going to happen.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _____ answer these same questions. Elon Musk, Haruki Murakami, any creative/artist, any teacher (at any level). And anyone reading this blog!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To keep things in constant perspective. I’ve always loved Joe Rogan’s quote, “If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers/fans? Only recently, I’ve realized that I’ve become a much happier person by simply being and accepting myself for who and what I am. It’s brought me to a level of inner peace that I never expected. Be yourself, live free. No filter.

Five things for the week

Viewing the mosque from the bus

  1. I forget how much I love my music collection. I’m only reminded of this when I’m able to allow the songs to shuffle for long periods of time. I need to find ways to do this more often.
  2. I’m “slow-reading” (restricting myself to focus on 1-3 passages at a time) both The Way of Korean Zen, by Kusan Sunim and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching. The intent is to slow my mind and focus on meaning (value).
  3. To counterbalance “mindless internet surfing”, I have done a few things:
    • Self-imposed restriction of not using iPad in my bedroom, just the Kindle. Read more!
    • Subscribed to email newsletters from content that I want to keep up with. This way I can peruse through email (as I’m used to) instead of reading through every feed and post to get what I want. This means less reliance on social media feeds.
    • Deleted apps on devices. All of those “time sucks” are gone!
  4. I splurged on some early birthday gifts for myself. I’m really excited about this and this. I will never grow up. And, I bought some whiskey, which I cannot wait to drink out of these.
  5. I will never grow up.

Monstress, by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda


My reading list is hundreds of books long. I have not made reading a priority, like it once was. Overall, I’m a much calmer, happier person when reading is a regular staple in my schedule. So, I’m working it back in.

I have been wanting to read this series for a while now. I have heard so many great things about Monstress. So, I bought Vol. 1 and dove in.

My lord, this is good! I am in love with the writing and the art. The story, the characters. Love this, and cannot recommend it enough.