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The voice I once had is much quieter today. Months have passed without a word, no interest, no motivation, and no idea how to continue.

This website feels like a reflection of my life currently: without clear direction. The need to write has faded. I like to be heard but I’m not sure if this medium can truly represent what I say.

A change will come before I’m ready.
2011 will bring new challenges I’ve never faced before.

beginnings and endings

The worst part of a new beginning is the final ending. Some beginnings have no end; some endings follow no true beginning.

I was a struggling English student throughout my education. Somewhere between the beginning of elementary and ending of intermediate school, the struggles I dealt with grew incrementally. I was even placed in a Reading class in 7th grade while many of my friends went into honors classes. Reading class was only for those who were struggling and was not required.

While it made me feel rather stupid, I knew I could easily make A’s in this class. There was no way I would struggle that much in a class of people I considered to be below me intellectually.

I was wrong.

I was more in tune with books as a kid, reading many which I remember enjoying. Even today I can recall various visual scenes I made up in my mind for some of the stories. However, the last time I really remember enjoying a book while in public education was in 8th grade. I vaguely remember reading certain stories which were mildly entertaining. It wouldn’t be long now.

By high school, I knew I wasn’t going to excel in this area of study. The required readings I was forced to commit to in English classes never satisfied me. Unfortunately for my education, my lust for video games had set in. Sitting still to comprehend static text was not even a passing thought if I wasn’t reminded.

I forced myself into the honors English class my freshman year of high school. For two years, I endured this ongoing struggle for several reasons: to be around peers better and smarter than me, to be around those who would challenge me, many of my friends were in these classes, and I needed to challenge myself.

By my junior year, I ended my personal challenge. Sophomore English class killed me, leaving me scarred with three D’s. It was time to end my suffering and take the personal hit. My pride in English, of what I even had left, was pretty much shot. While I didn’t want to let go for so many reasons, and while there are probably many reasons I should have continued this challenge, it was in my best interest to move on.

I tried hard to make it work. My timing wasn’t always great, I procrastinated a lot, and my test scores reflected this. I made mistakes which I wish I hadn’t, but I struggled to change my circumstances. Sadly, I just wasn’t meant to be great at English but I have slowly improved over the years.

It wasn’t a fun choice to leave the honors English track but I needed to make a change that was good for me. I was too stressed being in the same situation again and again and it left me unhappy. Since high school, I gained a huge appreciation for the English language because of my decision. I almost regret not continuing on with honors English but I knew at the time it was right for me.

I don’t always know when the right time for me to let go and move on is but I try my best to make my life work for me. The unintentional endings I’ve experienced through my life have been unfortunate but I’ve grown into a better person because of them. I just hope I know that doing the right thing doesn’t always mean doing the best thing for everyone.

Out of a sad ending will come a beautiful beginning. My improvement and understanding of the English language into my 30’s is proof that it doesn’t need to completely end. It just needed to change, this change allowed me to appreciate it more, and I found a new way to invigorate myself to improve my writing, reading and understanding.

I hope I can apply this lesson throughout the rest of my life.


Wow, I’m officially 30-something. Nine more years of this.

What’s crazy is I remember my dad turning 40 and my time is not too far ahead of me. He had a pretty big, somewhat extravagant party. It was probably the biggest birthday party my family had when I was growing up.

I don’t remember having too many parties as a child. I do remember maybe one or two, at which only about 5-10 kids showed up. They were nice but I was one of the least popular in my school so not many kids even wanted to come over.

This didn’t really change in middle or high school either. During my sophomore year, my mom did her best to put together a surprise birthday party for me. I believe only 3-4 people showed up. It’s not that I didn’t have friends, but it was confirmation not to throw my own birthday parties.

Since high school, birthdays have always been a somewhat private event. It’s not that I don’t like celebrating or going out. Much of the problem lies in the timing. May is a busy time for students to prepare for finals and going home for the summer. So there really never was an opportune time to publicly celebrate.

I find that the best way to celebrate my life is to be happy knowing that I can continue doing what I always do. Maybe it would be a little different if my closer friends lived near me, I dunno.

I don’t take pity on myself or feel sadness that I’m not a big birthday person. I feel a sense of comfort that I’m still alive, I feel younger than my age, and I don’t have to worry about organizing anything.

Do I prefer a personal, self-involved birthday? All I will say is that I’m happy to be alive. Who could really ask for more?

thunderbird for email client

Since about 1997, I’ve more or less used Outlook Express to manage all of my email. I was never a heavy enough user to warrant switching to Outlook or anything else that heavy, so Outlook Express has been the default, go to email client for me.

Now, 13 years later, I’m finally making the switch away from Outlook Express architecture. It’s been a little painful since I never needed anything more than Outlook Express. I also have 12+ years of emails nicely categorized and filed away in a somewhat complicated architecture designed in Outlook Express. So going completely cloud computing based email is out of the question for me. I also am not a fan of the limited Windows Live Mail client. It just wasn’t customizable enough for what I needed.

Now, I’m finally giving Mozilla Thunderbird a temporary test. I was against switching to Thunderbird 2 for many reasons, but Thunderbird 3.0.4 seems so far to do what I prefer.

My likes and dislikes so far:

  • Simple installation – Love it. No hassle, easy to input my email account.
  • Multiple identities – This is a feature I’ve needed since I discovered it in Apple Mail. Sadly, I always had to create multiple dummy accounts just to be able to send as another identity. This is especially important since I don’t need a bunch of personal inboxes for each account. Gmail allows me to gather all of that nicely into one place, which I then just download from one account. Perfect!
  • Local Folders vs. Account Folder – This has been a moderate annoyance. Why the heck did I have *two* inboxes and trash folders? Seems so useless to have a Local Inbox when my Account Inbox was the only one being used. It took me a while to find out you can setup a Global Inbox to handle everything.The default setup for all new email accounts you associate is to store mail in the newly formed account folder (or create it when needed). So, by default, you will have two copies of Inbox, Drafts, Sent, Trash and Outbox. That’s such stupid way to do it when you’re only setting up one account! It just complicates everything for a user.
  • Speed – It’s no slower than Windows Mail. Thunderbird 2 felt draggy but Thunderbird 3 feels on par. At least initially! Let’s hope that doesn’t change, dang it.
    Edit 4/12/2010 – Two big areas that have increasingly annoyed me are sending a message and deleting a message. When I compose a new email and send it, a small window opens to show the sending status. It usually takes about 3 seconds or longer for the whole new composed email to disappear (and live in my Sent folder. Similarly, when I have an email I don’t need anymore, I push the the delete button in the Mail Toolbar. Deleting the message is usually a 1-2 second task, sometimes longer depending on the size of the email. I wish these two tasks didn’t take so long.
  • Auto-completion email “To: %Alias%” – When I click on the “Create a New Message” icon to send a brand new email,  the first thing I do is type the name of the person I want to send it to. At least with version 3.0.4, even when I type out a name that’s in my Address Book, it doesn’t auto-complete the address! In fact, if I try to send the email, it give me an error saying, “%Alias% is not a valid e-mail address because it is not of the form user@host. You must correct it before sending the e-mail.” where %Alias% is the name of the person I’m sending to. Really, Thunderbird? Really? Why aren’t you referencing my address book where that person’s email address is stored! Come on! Turns out my original export of my Address Book was a bad export. So I reexported out of Thunderbird’s Address Book, played around with the CSV file, and reimported. Problem solved!
  • Top Posting vs. Bottom Posting – Whoever decided that the default reply location of an email should be below the whole email message should be shot. It took me another while to figure out how to switch all my identities to become top reply, where the reply to an email starts above the quoted original text. I think, despite the ongoing discussion for bottom replies and against top replies, standard email convention should be practiced (being that almost all other email systems out there do this already).
  • Contacts Sidebar – I had this in Outlook Express. Loved it. Missed it in Windows Mail. Now I have it back in Thunderbird thanks to Add-ons! Sadly, so many add-ons for Thunderbird are not very compatible or buggy for Thunderbird 3, but hopefully the good ones will be and stay current with new versions.
  • Customization – I’m so thankful there’s a ton of customization for this software. The UI is exactly as I’m used to and prefer, which is good for usability. And while it’s not exactly like Outlook Express, there’s some great features that are much better.The only real complaint I do have is the sorting pane on the threads list that contains the column names like “From”, “Subject”, etc. I love that I can customize it in every folder, but why can’t I customize it globally? I want most of my folders to appear the same with a few exceptions here and there.

I’m going to give it about a month and see how I feel, but already after I found the answers I needed, I believe I’m gonna stay with this and totally abandon Windows Mail/Outlook Express for good. It’s been mostly a good 13 years but it’s past time to move on.

it’s about time CD prices drop!

Universal Music Group is FINALLY dropping the price of CDs to a more reasonable and maximum cost of $10 per CD. I can’t even begin to say for how many years I’ve been stating that CDs are too expensive. Now, so many years later, they’re still too expensive AND are a dying breed. Is anyone really surprised?

I can’t tell you the last time I bought myself a CD for any reason. Maybe this is the beginning of a wave of price changes. But sadly, I’m pretty sure the people who will ultimately suffer are the musicians signed with these labels. It’s one of the main reasons I like going to concerts.

elance is as bad as aol

I cannot delete my account off of elance.

In order to get to their customer service, I have to go to their About page and THEN I find a Contact page. If you see the link on the bottom right that say “Send us your feedback”, it goes to a forum. I didn’t want a forum, I wanted an email address, contact us form, or at the very least a phone number. I just want to delete my account.

Elance has been of no use to me. I won’t sit here and say it doesn’t work at all because, of course, many people make a living from the site. But I find Elance’s methods and system far too complicated, convoluted and just plain annoying.

One of my biggest beefs? The test to show your proficiency in WordPress refers you to either version 2.5 or 2.3. That was about 2 years ago, Elance! Do you think I remember WordPress from 2 years ago? Half of those questions are outdated or inconsistent with the most recent versions. Why can’t they keep their survey question and content up to date?

I didn’t even bother trying to get freelance jobs because I’m bidding against other crappy designers who are willing to work for next to nothing. I can’t compete with their prices if I want to make a living.

All I want to do is get rid of my account. Why don’t you offer an easy, non-aol like experience to delete your account online? I don’t wanna make a phone call, either. Besides, it’s after 5pm on a weekend night and your customer support center is closed.

I’m disappointed in Elance and want my search results and history completely deleted. I’m sure other people have similar experiences and I feel sorry for others like me who found this site to be of no service and much more of a nuisance.


New design.
If you come visit my real site instead of reading this in your RSS feed reader, you’ll see my hair as of February 21st. I found a very minimalistic theme that looked great and modified it with my hair!

I think I’m gonna do a little more code play on this site, such as converting the front end code to HTML5 and adding some minimal javascript behaviors. Maybe I’ll get too busy, maybe I’ll go crazy, who knows. But this website kinda has no purpose right now except to archive my life.

So, for a quick update into Micah 2010:

  • January was my great depression. It was one of the worst months all around that I’ve had for years. Very depressing for some many reasons. Just a terrible month in general. Glad it’s behind me.
  • February is looking up but there’s still some reflections of January in the mirror. Not sure how to shake off this personal recession but time will take its toll.
  • I have started a new part-time contract job that makes me drive to Brentwood about 3 times a week. It’s a challenging web design job that will push my skills to their limits and force me to learn new languages. It’s a little overwhelming but a challenge I need to push myself through.
  • I also work with another graphic designer to help him with his new and existing clients. It’s not as much busy work as my part-timer but different challenges to overcome. I’m very lucky to be continuing a their part-time job which I’ve held since March 2005.
  • I have no news on the music front, sadly. I have a personal goal in the back of my mind to actually record something, anything, and publish it online. This has been the same story for nearly 10 years however. And being the musical perfectionist that I can be, I don’t know if I will fight my demons on this but feel free to leave your motivational comments.
  • For the first time my whole life, my dedicated DVD player is actually hooked up to my 27″ TV. I’ve never had this personally for myself as I’ve always relied on my computer’s DVD player or just downloaded shows/films online. It’s a nice little change!
  • Here are my travel goals this year: Moscow, London, Houston, and wherever my mother ends up being. As of right now, I have no travel plans and won’t make any anytime soon. Stability comes first, then travel.

2010 is shaping up to be a year of big changes and the most potential I’ve ever had.

pee wee herman show

What a nice evening. I took my roommate down to Nokia Club in the new Nokia Live center in downtown LA. The place is so artificial and corporate looking but nice nonetheless. It was built to help revitalize downtown Los Angeles. While it looks like, parking around there is much more expensive than it should be. Luckily, we found free parking about 5 blocks away.

We met a couple of my friends along with two of their friends who showed up. Got VIP passes which literally meant nothing special. It was just a special trip to the 4th floor where we had private access to another bar and kitchen. Meh.

We got GA tickets so we had to stand in the back. It was still very nice to be there, however. Seeing Pee Wee in person was more or less a childhood dream. Not that I ever had a fantasy to meet him when I was young but I DID get a lot of the Pee Wee toys that were out for my 10th birthday. I still even have the playhouse!

If you’d never seen the TV show or movies, you’d think this guy is on drugs or something. I can totally get how his humor seems ridiculous from the outside. But, since we were all fans there, the whole show was really great! The funniest part for me was that he took the whole thing really seriously. It’s as though his show never ended!

What I didn’t realize until after the show tonight is many of his scenes and bits used in this show were taken right out of his show he put on at the Groundlings and Roxy so many years ago. You can find different clips of those shows on Youtube.

He appropriately made fun of his brush with the law so many years ago by saying he was wearing an abstinence ring! As he was showing it to the audience, he starts pumping his fists. There was a whole bit about it and the audience was cracking up.

We got to sit in on the last 20 minutes of a Q&A session too. It’s neat to see him talking as Paul and not just Pee Wee. He seems generally excited about everything going on. He thanked his fans a lot and was so happy that he gets to hear the feedback from everyone now. He said when he was doing the show so many years ago he was so busy he never got to really talk to the fans.

You can tell he knows he’s lucky. Either that or he’s putting on a damn good show. He was born to entertain and is brilliant at what he does.

I didn’t get to meet him personally but I did meet the King of Cartoons up close. Saw a couple other of his actors up close, too.

It was great reliving my childhood for one night. :o)

my year in travel

I still can’t believe how many places I’ve been to.

  • San Francisco
  • Monterey, CA
  • San Luis Obispo
  • New York City
  • Washington D.C.
  • Houston (3 times)
  • Austin
  • Galveston
  • Palm Springs
  • Lake Tahoe
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Mammoth Lakes, CA
  • San Diego
  • Malibu
  • Moscow, Russia (one month)

I’ve been outside of LA more than 14 weeks this year! Insane.

when in moscow, russia

Moscow lighting is beautiful at night

I’ve now spent nearly 50 days living in Moscow in the last calendar year. Having spent so much time there, and seeing how much information I’ve come across in research that either didn’t help me, was inaccurate, or just plain didn’t exist, I present to you my top 7 thoughts about traveling to Moscow, Russia. Some of these topics could easy become their own post (such as food!).