Random Thoughts About the Act of Living

"Live your life that the fear of death never enters your heart. Trouble no one about his religion. Respect others in their views and demand they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, and beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service to your people. When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home"

Tecumseh, as read in Act of Valor

I was watching act of valor again and, no matter how many times I see it or listen to the quote at the end, it still moves me. It has given me a lot to think over the last few months since I first saw the movie and read the book.

I didn't get the job at Esurance and, while it sucks, it wasn't wholy unexpected. Even though it was a dream job it was also a knee jerk reaction to having left because I wasn't happy. I found 3 other jobs hat I'll start the application process tomorrow. I have money to survive a few months but after a few weeks I have to question how ready I am for the jobs that I pursue, how hard is the competition going to be? Do I care or am I confident on myself and the skills that I bring to the table?

I also have to remind myself that this was one of the reasons for taking the break. Deciding if the field I'm in and the skills I have are what I want to be doing for however longs it is until I retire (if I ever choose to retire).

Things are starting to take a different tone of urgency. Now, I'm not desperate for money. I want something different now and I'm ready for it, and I'm ready for the challenge and the disappointment that will certainly come with it. I've cured myself from the notion of being infalible and getting everything that I want on the first try, or the second or thrid or however many times I've attempted it.

This video has been in my mind and not because it's Neil Fucking Gaiman but because the words resonate very deep within and because I'm getting old... never thought I'd be staring at 40 in the face and still not know what it is I really want (I'm discovering what it is I want to do when I grow up 🙂 and it sounds less of a joke than it was originally meant to be).

2013 in Review

Picked it up about 4 years ago from Chris Gullibeau and, even when there's no planning for the year ahead (and therefore nothing to review from the year before) it helps me frame the thoughts and plan for the year ahead.

This year

2013 started busy as all hell but things changed towards the end of the year. The longer I stayed at work after my original hiring manager left (under unknown circumstances) things took a turn for the weird and ugly.

Part of it was my fault. When I was hired I made it a point to ask my hiring manager for honest and quick feedback and when she left I neglected to do the same thing with the new boss (our sr. director of customer service and support) so she never knew how important that was for me.

The other part was no my fault at all. Absolutely 0.00 communication and communication expectations and then... promotions that were unwarranted (if you ask me looking from the bottom without knowing the full picture)

Ever since WDS, Tess Vigeland presentation sat with me and the longer I thought about it the more I realized I owed it to myself to search within for what I really wanted and that, the longer I stayed at FireEye, the more miserable I was going to become and the higher the risk of getting fired.

It was time for me to go but it wasn't an easy choice to make... I still miss some of the people I worked with both inside and outside my team and hindsight has a way of being the 20/20 crystal rear view mirror that shows you how things should have worked.

What went well this year that I have control over?

  • I finally gathered my courage (and money) to put action to words and live according to what I believe in
  • I was able to save enough money to make a stab at financial independence. I have 6 to 10 months to take a stab at what it is that I want to do and where I want to do it at
  • I was successful as I've defined success to be
  • I was able to leave on my own terms and be happy with the decision
  • I started a relationship and it has lasted longer and grown stronger than expected
  • I have written abut 25k words since I quit my job and I have at least another 10 projects at different stages of completion

What did not go well this year that I have control over?

  • Eventhough it happened in December of 2011, breaking out of my last relationship colored 2012 in a way that I didn't particularly like. I guess it's debatable whether I had control over this one.... I could have stayed but it was an invitation to disaster
  • I gave up too soon on opportunities that were too good to be true (so therefore they probably were not true to begin with)

Results from Last Year

Last year's review has given me a lot to think about.

It has made me think a lot about the metrics I use to define success and failure and how I hold others to the same standard that I try to hold myself to and get so terribly pissed off when they fail to hold up to the standards I've set for them.

Never hesitate to stand up for what you believe in, care about, want to change. As ZeFrank says in the video below... even the dull pens will leave a mark.

I write this piece from Tennyson's Ulyses every so often in different contexts... it keeps me grounded on positive change, makes me happy for what I gained rather than sad for what I lost. It makes me hopeful that as long as you don't give up things will always get better.

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Ulysses – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

What will 2014 be like?


I'm hoping to get a lot more writing on web design and web development done in the next year. Who knows, maybe more WPD docs or maybe just to document what I've learned so far.

I still don't want to turn publishing project into a business in and of itself but I wont turn down opportunities that come from it 🙂

Plan on writing at least 4 articles a month of at least 1000 words each that are not work related. That should keep you in good writing shape.


I want to get a job that is more than just pushing papers and being miserable doing it. At least if I'm going to push papers I want to do it in a place where I'm going to be appreciated for doing it and not be taken for granted.

I would love to work as a web developer or front end engineer. We'll just have to see if the skills are where they needs to be. One of the things that I'm hoping to do while I job hunt again is to build a portfolio of web projects to both get the skills I'm learning polished enough for production and to have something to show when people ask for work products.

Health and Fitness

January comes the big challenge to get my ass in gear again. Whether at Stanford or Eagle Park or wherever I decide to swim at the goal will still be to swim my 10k swim in the bay towards the end of the year.

I'll go back to working out 2-3 times a week as soon as I can afford it. I need to get back in shape something serious.

Relationships, Friends & Family

Nurture relationships and become a better friend that what I've been so far.

I, breathe in deep
Sleep till the sunlight washes in
And the smell of skin throws light up into my face
I can breathe when you're near to me
I could dream when I see the sunlight on your face
And the touch of you throws light on the darkest place

Armin van Buuren -- Breathe in deep

Grow in my relationship and nurture it to see how far can it really go.


Chile! It's been about 13 years after all.

Spain... maybe track the family tree from when Grandpa Araya left the Basque country.

Asia... Thailand, Indonesia, Japan

New Zealand, Australia

But only if you can budget money and vacation time wisely and it doesn't conflict with other areas of your life. I'm not like Chris Gullibeau who had set a goal of every country in the world, I just want to travel to enjoy the places and the people.


Start sitting meditation again? Kannon Do?


Learn and build the portfolio I've always said I'd build.

Javascript, web design, all the other stuff I've been writing about or that I have in the blog writing folder (what's published is in the publishing project blog.

Time to start and not stop until I'm where I want to be 🙂

Financial (Saving)

I'm surprised at how many thing I have in the burner right now in the job front and, while I'm working hard at not getting my hopes to high up, I'm kinda confident that one of these oportunities will pan out into a job 🙂

A new job would not only validate my decision to leave FireEye but it would also allow me to start building the reserves again.