Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Matter of Perspective

We like to wallow in self-pitty.

Ok, so maybe we don't actually "like" feeling sorry for ourselves, but we allow ourselves to because it gives us an excuse and explanation for why everything is not perfect. We wish we could be other people, who might have more money, fame, or supposed happiness. For some reason, it seems like a lot of people have it better than you, right?

WRONG! (BTW, make sure you watch this video after reading this post! Sean Stephenson embodies EXACTLY what I'm talking about and he's an AWESOME speaker)

With the economy tanking in U.S. and a lot of people losing jobs as well as money in the stock market, there's certainly a lot of self-pity going around right now. "Why me?" they ask. A lot of them probably fantasize about how amazing life would be to be Warren Buffet, with Billions of dollars and no worries!

We need to fix our perspective.

Do ever think that maybe Warren Buffet sometimes wishes he DIDN'T have all this money and that a simple investment decision wouldn't have an effect on an entire COUNTRY'S economy? Remember, this is a guy who lives in a modest 5 bedroom house in Omaha, Nebraska and drives an Oldsmobile. I'll even bet a lot of rich celebrities think the general population is so lucky to not get harangued everytime they go out to buy some milk.

When we are in any sort of despair we always compare ourselves to people who seemingly have it better.

"I wish I had a job. People who have jobs are soooo lucky!"

"I hate my job. People who have jobs they love are so lucky!"

"I like my job, but everyone else makes so much more money!"

"I wish I could got buy some Milk without photographers getting in my face and everyone asking for autographs!"

But, if we change our perspective, we can realize just how fortunate we are. Having a job would certainly be ideal, but, if you're in the U.S. for example, you're lucky enough to be in a country with (relatively) excellent programs for sustaining you until you find a source of income. If you were in Africa, India, or any number of places, government assistance would be nonexistent.

If you hate your job, count your lucky stars that you are fortunate enough to HAVE a job! Take a look at unemployment rates, and consider yourself among the lucky ones.

Your jobs fun but you don't like the money? I'd be willing to bet a LOT of people would take a healthy pay cut to do something they enjoy doing.

Wish you could go out without being recognized? Well, be grateful that your fame opens up doors others can only dream of.

The bottom line is, I think it's fine to not be "content." That's what drives ambition. But discontent shouldn't manifest itself in any form of unhappiness.

I'm pretty much always happy and never in a bad mood. When bad things happen, or things don't go right for me and I'm tempted to start feeling sorry for myself, I always think, "At least I have _____" or "At least I'm not ____." I think about the millions of people that, in spite of whatever problem I have, would love to be in my shoes.

I was pissed because I got a traffic ticket a few months ago. $170 down the drain plus eight hours of traffic school! But then I thought, "what about the people get in major accidents through no fault of there own, or make an error in judgement and get a DUI? They'd LOVE to be in my situation instead."

I know there are some situations where this approach is an oversimplification, but quite honestly, I think most people feel sorry for themselves far too often and waste a lot of energy fretting about things that are going wrong in their life rather than counting the innumerable blessings that most of us have.

I could sit here and make a laundry list of stuff I don't have or things that haven't gone perfectly. I bet, if I really thought about it, I could write a blog about the sucky things that happen every week, and have a little pity party!

But I realize how great my life is! A lot of people say to me, "gee, Arun you are so LUCKY!" I AM lucky. But the truth is, most people are and they just don't realize it. People see me as being lucky because they see how happy I am and because I talk mostly about awesome things happening in my life.

It's all a matter of perspective.

Sure I'm extremely lucky. But so are you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quirky Communication

It's funny how our means of communication have changed over the years. I think the last time I sent a personally hand written letter, was 1999. It's too bad. I actually like getting letters. Even emails are great.

The problem with email is that it's gotten so common and quick, that the whole "charm" of letter writing, where each person writes a bunch of paragraphs before sending the letter off, has become lost! Instead, each email is like three sentences and a question, to which I'll respond to the question, say something witty, and ask something back. Emails are basically a long, drawn out phone conversations now.

And speaking of long and drawn out, have you noticed how long it takes to leave someone a voicemail these days? I was just calling someone yesterday, and I seriously could've had our entire conversation in the time that it took for me to eventually hear the "beep" and leave my message.

First, there's the greeting: "Hi this is Arun, I'm busy blogging right now about how idiocally long it takes to leave a phone message, but leave me a message and I'll get back to you."

Then we have the lovely young robot lady who won't shutup: "At the the tone, please record your message. When you are finished recording, you may hang up or press '1' for more options. To leave a callback number press 2, otherwise stay on the line and record your message."

Seriously, this recording drives me crazy. I don't need to hear EVERY option EVERY time I want to leave a message! It's like having 10 pop-up windows come up everytime you want to send an email, telling you about all of the wonderful options you have about email signatures, priority, receiver receipts etc, and then instructions on how to hit the "send" button. I just want to leave a Dad-Gum message!

I do find it amusing though, when people feel the need to leave instructions on their voicemail about HOW to leave a message. "Leave a message AFTER THE BEEP and I'll call you back!" This made sense about 18 years ago when answering machines first came out, but I'm fairly certain everyone knows the procedure for WHEN to start talking into the phone and leave a message.

I think my family first got an answering machine when I was about seven or eight. It consisted of two cassettes, one for the greeting, and the other for recording the message. To listen to the messages, you'd have to hit the rewind button and guess where to stop and play the tape.

Rewind. Play. Not far enough.
Rewind. Play. Oops, went too far! Fast Forward, Play.

And when answering machines first came out, people would get confused. "Hello? Helloooooo? Arun? What's going on?...(confusedly hanging up the phone)"

Busy signals are also a thing of the past. I don't think I've heard a busy signal in like 10 years.

The one thing I do find annoying is when I leave a phone message, and I get a text message reply in return. Ok. There is a reason I CALLED you! Now, instead of a nice quick, personal conversation, I'm now forced into hours of texting a conversation that would have otherwise been short and sweet. And these new phones with built in keyboards aren't helping matters either.

Texting DOES however even the playing field for those of us who are slightly less witty. I pride myself on being quick witted, but with texting, you can be "slow-witted" but still sound pretty charming. You have tons of time to now come up with clever one-liners! If you can't be funny with texts, you might be a lost cause...

Texting CAN be very useful. It's especially awesome for those people you meet, with whom you haven't yet bonded quite on the "phone call level" but a little text is quite harmless.

Texting is a happy medium between a nice phone conversation and never talking to someone again.

In fact, I've ramped up relationships that started as emails, then moved up the ladder to texts, and finally made the leap up to phone calls!

Major Progress, I know.

Overall there's absolutely no moral and nothing remotely intelligent really gained from reading today's post. It's more or less a good ol' fashioned rant. I suppose you probably like ME more for my keen sense of observation and social acumen! (and if you don't, you're welcome to keep to yourself :)

One final note. Yesterday, I was chatting with the barista at a coffee shop in Pacific Beach. It turns out they post the daily horoscopes from the Tribune in front of the counter, so we were reading ours and seeing how accurate they were. She was a Leo, and the horoscope prescribed integrating more "love" into her life or something.

Lucky for her she was chatting with the "Love Doctor."

I'm a Virgo. Mine said something like, "You NEED to lift your confidence. Love Yourself. Look in the mirror and like what you see!"

Seriously? I don't know who writes these things, but obviously they don't know me :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The human body is a complex system that, despite our best efforts, we still don't completely understand. One of the most amazing characteristics of the human body, is its ability to aclimate to your surroundings in a relatively short amount of time.

For example, growing up in Alaska, I used to WALK 3 blocks to the indoor tennis club in the MIDDLE of winter with snow everywhere and vapor crystalizing as it left my nostrils...while wearing only shorts, a t-shirt and a light jacket.


Now, when I go back home to visit, I drive the quarter mile to the club, then sprint to the front door, although this isn't necessarily a winning solution either. Last winter, during one of my olympic dashes through the parking lot, I managed to forget that tennis shoes don't exactly offer superior ice traction.

Suffice to say, as I was rounding the final leg passed the handicap spots (forshadowing), approaching the front door finish line, my twinkle toes went one way, my dome the other, and my arms flailed madly as I went barreling to the ground, nestling in a nice patch of rock-hard compacted snow.


Come to think of it, running in foul weather is always a bit of a predicament. When it's freezing, sure running gets you where you're going a lot faster, but the air also becomes like 50 times colder as the added wind chill bites into you. Not to mention, there's a slight of slipping. When it's raining, you have the same decision.

"Hmm. If I walk, I'm gonna be getting wet for longer, but if I run, I'm gonna get pelted with more water PLUS ground splash is now a factor." You're screwed either way.

I wonder if people in the rainy Pacific Northwest have "aclimated" to this by secreting extra skin oil to become water resistent? Yikes, that's an icky thought.

In India, the level of weather aclimation that citizens possess is downright ridiculous. Everywhere we went, we always paid the extra bucks and hired a driver with an air-conditioned car. When the air is 125 degrees, driving with the windows down doesn't quite suffice for cooling. Not to mention, the air is so smoggy that breathing in the fresh roadway breeze is like sticking your head into a barbecue.

The thing is, NOBODY in India uses AC! Even the drivers, who we'd hire for the day, would just sit there sleeping in their car, parked in the scorching sun and humidity, for HOURS waiting for us. To top it, they don't even perspire that much. I walk 20 feet from the car, and my shirt is already drenched in sweat.

Can we guess who the tourist is?

Back here in Southern California, I've certainly aclimated to our weather. I seriously get a little pissed and start whining when it rains because it ruins all of my outdoor activities.

To think that I have to deal with rain SIX times a year!

This morning, I was shivering, and bundled up before leaving the house. Damn this freezing fall weather!

53 degrees Farenheit.

God what's happened to me? I've become a weather WIMP!

Oh well. I guess I'll just have to go on a global travel tour, exposing myself to the weather of countries everywhere, effectively transforming my self into a weather aclimation GOD!

Unfortunately, that still won't save me from eating a face full of snow in slippery Alaska parking lots.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


One day, you're cruising around on your computer, checking emails, writing blogs...maybe working a little, and overall just happy as a clam! Then, with the click of a mouse button it all comes crumbling down as colors begin flashing on your monitor, red signs begin blinking at you, and your computer does everything short of blow up.

I take pride in knowing that I could never fall for downloading one of those silly viruses. As a Computer Enginerd-ing major, I am too familiar with the tricky shaninigans that maliscious computer wizards try to pull on the innocent! My combination of practical common sense and superior technological knowledge makes me uncrackable! HA!

You can imagine my suprise when my computer monitor started flashing bright colors and everything went haywire.

I had downloaded what I thought was an innocent little application to clean my computer's registry for FREE. Well, it certainly did SOMETHING for free, and it sure as hell wasn't cleaning.

I had a feeling something was wrong when the screen went red and the lower left corner was blinking "VIRUS WARNING!"

Apparently though, this was just a "trick virus." Not an actual virus, but rather malware to make me think I have a virus. Little do they exactly who they're dealing with!

When I saw a window popup that looked like my McAfee security software already on my computer, I was relieved. "Virus Alert! Download and install 2008 Antivirus protection "here." I'll show those hackers! HA!

I enthusiastically clicked the button while audible yelling "HA!" much to the confusion of everyone else in my office.

I got the feeling that this was a bad move when clicking the button caused my already discombobulated system to lose all control and fifty bazillion popups started taking over my screen!

In a panic, I did what any technologically savvy, windows user would do. I did a "hard shutdown," and turned off my compy. Maybe my computer just needs a little rest? I turned it back on praying for some semblance of normalcy. Obviously, I'm a computer expert thinking that turning my computer off, letting it rest, and turning it back on will somehow defeat the virus. My intelligence is unmatched!!!

Or not. More blinky red things and virus alerts.

As a last ditch, I called the IT department hoping my computer wasn't totally hosed.

IT Guy: "IT Dept, what's up?"
Me: "I think I have a Virus thing (the technical term)"
IT: "Well, what's going on?"
Me: "Uh, there's lots of blinky red things, and a popup, and my backgroud..."
IT: "Does your background say "Click here to install 2008 antivirus protection?"
Me: "Yea!"
IT: "Did you do it?"
Me: "I'm one step ahead of you man, I already did it!"
IT: "You're hosed"
Me: "Oops"
IT: "I just helped someone with this yesterday, and it even got ME last week"
Me: "Wow! Really?"
IT: "Yup...You got screwed."

Actually, I was lucky that he had already seen this because he guided me through the steps to fix everything, and now my computer is back and healthier than EVER! I don't feel so bad either since even the IT guy got tricked.

Of course when people around me found out that I had gotten a virus, everybody started chiming in with the token, "Ooooh...I guess we know what kind of websites ARUN is visiting! Hehehe!"

So what did I learn? I learned that computer hacker-wizards have gotten so tricky that even I can be swindled! Be careful! If I'm vulnerable, then no one is safe! Although, if this does actually happen to you, I know how to fix it.

If you call me for expert advice, I can give you step by step details on how to "hard shutdown" your computer and how to NOT click the 2008 Antivirus button :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Jack of All Trades

I'm definitely a curious person. My friend Frederico calls me the most curious person he's ever met.

I'm just the type of person who takes interest in a lot of different things. I have an aptitude for picking things up pretty fast, and usually, I'm dedicated enough to study them, work on the skills, and get pretty good at most of my endeavors. I like to think I'm a Rennaissance Man.

The only problem is, I'm pretty good at a lot of things, but a master at none of them.

A Jack of all trades.

Although...I suppose one could argue that I'm a master of CHARM, but that one would have to be someone other that me :)

Lets take sports for example. During my very first tennis lesson, I got kicked out of the beginners class (where we were hitting balloons up in the air) and put in the intermediate group (where we ACTUALLY got to hit tennis balls!). I became pretty good at tennis, winning a few tournaments and the highschool state finals, but I was never great. Had I played in college (where a lot of Division 1 players dedicated there life to tennis as Juniors) I would've been mediocre (did I actually use the word "mediocre" to describe something about me!?! I must be sick or something)

In basketball, I'm usually one of the better players on the court, but I'm never dominant and can't just take over games.

I'm decent at golf (If you can call a best ever score of 94, "decent"). I beat most people at racketball. I can throw a spiral. I was a two time little league all-star third basemen.

I dominated lunch-time ping pong tournaments in highschool, at one point going on a 57 match win-streak...although I never played any Asians.

Now? I'm not a master of any of these things. You pit me against most people, and I'll probably win, but against a master, I'm Toasty McToasterson.

I know what you're thinking. "Ok, Ok Arun, I get it! You happen to be "athletic!" That just means that sports wasn't your thing and you're probably a master at something else. And stop telling us how awesome you are!"

Uh...hello? Have you read this blog before? I would NEVER inflate my own ego!

My "Jack-ness" extends far beyond sports. In music, I sing, and play the Cello, Guitar, and Piano. My skills range in each of these, and I'm decent at them all, but not "accomplished" at any. I spent a good year learning how to produce music, and produced fairly decent quality recordings of six different songs I wrote. (you can here one by clicking on my myspace profile link on the left <--) But, I grew tired of all the effort it took.

Every month or so, I get the urge to produce music again, but when I sit down to do it, and realize all the work it's going to take, I find something else to do.

As a kid, I used to draw a lot, and was a pretty good sketcher. The last awesome sketch I drew was in 1993.

I won a state award for poetry in third grade. Aside from music, that was the last actual poem I wrote.

I learned how to juggle, but stopped after I could do four balls.

In college, I received an A in every General education class I took, but when it came to hunkering down on one subject and becoming proficient (Engineering), I sucked.

I have a couple of competitive, internationally certified yo yo's with ball bearing axels and all. I used to know a bunch of tricks and even considered entering a competition...never happend. In fact, I recently attempted to show off my unpolished yo yo skills to my friend thinking my lack of practice would be outweighed by my dexterity. "It's like riding a bike!" I said.

I threw the yo yo down hard getting it to "sleep," like a pro.

Yea! I am awesome!

I started twirling it around hard, getting ready to do the beginning of a "Brain Twister." The yo yo came flying around and I managed to catch it perfectly on the thin string.

HA! I haven't lost it!

For the finale of the Brain Twister, I began twirling the yo yo ultra fast with two hands, at which point the yo yo is supposed to spin free and return to my hand...apparently the yo yo wanted to make a "side trip" on the way back.

It slipped off of one of my fingers, and instead of returning smoothly to my open palm, it went barreling with reckless abandon into my "jewels of manhood."

Game over.

Although my friend seemed to find this more entertaining than the trick itself.

I've always been fascinated by magic as well, and learned a few really awesome magic tricks. Seriously, the stuff I learned is pretty cool, and no one can duplicate it on the spot because they all require a ton of practice and slight of hand...but I never did much with this skill! Only my good friends know about my magic stuff, but on occasion, I'll do a trick in public with something readily available like rubber bands, playing cards, or money.

Writing is probably my new "thing" although I think this has some staying power. I wrote an ebook and am currently revising and getting ready for marketing and publication. Writing is awesome, especially when the only guidelines I have are my own! I also like the fact that other people read my output, which keeps me motivated. I think that's part of the reason I didn't hard-core pursue music. The chances of the masses even hearing my work, were slim to none.

Hmmm...maybe I should just become a one man show! I could play tennis with one hand while writing poetry with the other. I'll play the keyboard with my left foot, and string a yo yo to my right big toe, all while balancing a broom on my head and singing the national anthem. And at the end I'll make your money disappear!