And this is where we pick up from where we left off.

Almost three years and three months have passed since I last updated my life. A lot has definitely happen, and I’m sure as time goes on I’ll be able to share snippets of everything and everything in between everything of what has happened.

Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying life more and more as a whole. I’ve had this nagging feeling to start up a blog about food, traveling, life, and its simple pleasures. Basically, everything about me and the world around me in a blog. I’ve honestly been putting it off because I couldn’t come up with a clever name for a website/blog. Lo and behold…I logged in here and this jewel has been sitting here, gathering dust, waiting to be filled once more. So, now we pick up where we left off. I’ll be posting about my adventures as I journey into the unknown, and also backtrack on what I’ve been up to the past three years and three months. Welcome back, me!

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Lucky Charms and Superstitions at the Casino

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Just came back from a casino with the parentals and sis. Now, I’m not a gambler. The most I would do are the penny slot machines. So, that’s where I headed to spend my $10 and keep myself preoccupied until my parents are done with their slots as well.

I go about my business next to this lady who obviously has been there in the casino for a long time trying her luck. I did notice she had her superstition of trying to stay on Lady Luck’s good side. After every time she played a bet she has to swipe the glass screen as if she was trying to unlock her iPhone screen. And I mean every time. She hits the bet button then she would swipe the screen. At first she was a little shy about it, but I made sure to not glance her way so she wouldn’t see I was observing her swiping.

Walking around the floor trying to look for my parents I notice a lot of quirks of trying to be lucky. Some don’t cross arms, legs, or even fingers. Can’t cross any part of you because you are blocking the good luck from you. Some bring an article that they deem lucky. Maybe a handkerchief or object of some kind. Then, there are those who take aura from others they believe bring them luck. Maybe have their first-born with them on their lap, or they have to touch the hand of lucky Aunt Jill. The opposite can happen as well. Bad luck strikes when your cousin pats you on the shoulder because you were winning, and your streak quickly ends. Then, you have the shifters who shift from machine to machine until they find the lucky one. They also wait to jump into a machine that’s been unlucky to someone, hoping they will be the one to break the unlucky streak.

My sister and I ended up chilling at the bar and wondered how random and lucky slots really are. Are they really random, or are they rigged? How lucky do you really get? Or do they just let you win just enough to make you feel good? Is it really luck or chance? Because it can’t be a game of skill. No matter what it be, it does get addicting hoping to win a rich reward. You’ll never know your luck unless you try.

By the way, I came out even. Got me my $10 back.

Weary Travelers and the Virtue of “It Is What It Is”

Post-vacation means there’s a lot of things that need to get done pronto waiting for you when you get back. This whole polar vortex delaying and cancelling nearly the entire North America’s traveling plans reminds me of my own travels over the holiday break.

Over the holidays, my parents and I decided to head to Las Vegas for New Year’s. We were to take the train from the Bay Area down to Oxnard to meet my uncle there, then drive to Las Vegas the following day. However, this (what was supposed to be a) simple 8-hour train ride was beset with so many delays and problems, that it took us 13-hours instead, and we arrive at Oxnard past 11pm instead of the original arrival time of 7pm.

Here’s a quick recap of everything that could’ve gone wrong and went wrong:

1. Train arrives more than an hour late. Instead of 8:45am, it arrives past 10am.
2. The food bar runs out of some food and supplies.
3. The train runs slower than expected for a good couple of hours, only to find out that…
4. One of the two engines pulling our train is busted. We stop at one of the stations for a bit to see if the engineers on board can fix it.
5. Nope, they can’t. However, we need that second train in order to get up and over the mountains to go to Southern California. So…
6. They call in for help from the Union Pacific. We have to try to meet them in the middle of nowhere somewhere on our way down south. Hopefully, by the time we get to the meeting place they are there already as well.
7. Of course, they are not. Now, we’re just sitting in the middle of nowhere. It is night time and you can’t see anything outside. We feel like sitting ducks, waiting for a bandits on horses to take over our train like in the old western movies.
8. The second engine (which is apparently the electrical one) gives out. No electricity, so it means we’re all sitting in the dark.
9. Some time around after 8pm the Union Pacific arrives. The entire train is shut off so that it can be connected. This process apparently takes a while to make sure the connections are properly set.
10. After this entire ordeal, we arrive at Oxnard instead of 7pm but a little after 11pm. The trip took 13 hours.

Throughout all this I’ve witnessed how different people of different backgrounds handle public transportation and the stress of delays and out-of-our-hands problems.

1. Elderly woman sitting across the aisle complains multiple times to the train crew member that she is freezing. Worker tells her multiple times he does not control the overall cabin temperature. She has a jacket on. She then moves on to complain multiple times about the delays and that she now demands a refund. Finally, the crew member gets frustrated at her and tells her straight that he has no control of the situation and there is no way she’s getting a refund at this precise moment and she has the freedom to call the 1-800 number. This whole time her husband is chuckling at his wife, and has read two books throughout the entire ride.
2. Two guys we meet at the lounge make jokes as we’re sitting in the dark. One of them, though, starts getting irritated as the night goes on because he’s a couple of hours delayed on smoking a cigarette. If he knew we’d be stuck in the middle of nowhere for this long he would’ve gotten off the last station we were in for a quick puff. The other guy chuckles at first as we make jokes, but gets more and more silent as the other guy starts becoming more and more irritated and starts to voice his frustrations.
3. Mom sitting next to me is actually pretty decent. She takes this train often to visit her daughter in San Francisco from her Oxnard home. Apparently, there was one time they were stuck in the middle of nowhere for five hours because a car was trying to beat the train but hit it instead. We make light of the situation, and come to an understanding that with the situation we are in it is what it is. No point in fussing since we cannot do anything about it. We did admit that it is frustrating and we wish it didn’t happen. But, what can we do? We’re sure the conductor is trying his best and not just playing Angry Birds. We traded stories of our holidays, and also any other traveling nightmares we’ve been through.

The whole ordeal was crazy. Definitely not a good way to start your vacation off. But, when (bleep) hits the ceiling is when people’s true personalities come out. It’s when things don’t go as planned when things get interesting; seeing how people interact with the situation and with one another. There are those whose hot heads explode. A lot of yelling emanate from them, negativity, anger and rudeness. Then, there are the complainers who will just talk and talk about what they think is the obvious problem and the obvious solution, and their frustrations at why nobody is doing what they think should be done. Then, there are those who try to be the solution by getting involved directly. They ask questions, give suggestions, try to be hands-on and see what they can do to make the situation better (or worse).

I admit I’ve been at least once of each of those on several occasion. However, with this circumstance I was the quiet type who leaned back and waited for things to unfold. What was the point of blowing up? It wouldn’t have made the situation any better. We were stuck in a metal cylinder in the middle of nowhere until help arrived. It is what it is. It wouldn’t have done any good to complain and voice frustration. Sure, it would have made me feel better. Plus, there’s the whole freedom of speech thing. But, it would have only created more negativity and fueled more anger, which would not help with the situation. I know nothing about trains, so it’s not like I have advice or solutions to offer. So, in this circumstance all I did was patiently wait. I got to know strangers and share stories, like as if we were in the same platoon that’s going through a lull during a big battle. There was no escaping the situation. Unfortunately, there’s no way out of the train, literally (the train door was a few feet off the ground). So, I learned the virtue of “it is what it is” and accepted the situation until it resolved itself. Ended up reading a book and a half, met a few good people, had a few laughs, and took a couple of naps. It’s amazing how as a kid I refused to nap, and now it’s a blessing whenever you’re lucky to get it.

Dirty Hot

Work has been busy for me. It seems like I’m turning into a career man to keep myself occupied. New adventures that I’m trying to stay optimistic about. I must admit that’s not how it started out, nor were my intentions for myself. But I’m trying to move on. This isn’t what life has in store for me. I still have a long way to go.
A coworker is going through almost something similar as I am, but about 8 months ahead of me. She’s much better now and actually dating now. She’s my reminder that things will get better. Anyway, there’s this construction worker that’s been on a project at work for a couple of years. He’s not really her type to begin with. He’s usually dirty and covered in dust or paint. But, it’s the ruggedness and dirtiness that makes him look really manly hot. Definitely not your suit-and-tie type, but the get-down-and-dirty-and-sweat-and-build-things type. They’ve just had small talk before, especially since she was married. However, since she’s been single he hasn’t done anything. She’s been trying to hint at things, going out of her way to say hello and try to have conversation with him. She wasn’t sure if she was even putting out the correct signals, or if he’s just reading them wrong. I mean is been forever since she tried dating. And nothing… until the beginning of this week finally. He finally asked her on a dinner date.
She was nervous, of course. But it was a good reminder for her that she still got it. Despite the fact that the last time she was available for the dating scene was 16 years ago, she still has it. She can still attract a man’s attention. This was good for her. A person asking her out on a date in person , not through a dating website. And the best part is – he called her instead of texting. Don’t see that much these days. It’s good to see that she gets attention, and that she’s moving past her past.
I’ll be there soon. I’m much better now than I was before. The holidays will be good to me. Plus, there’s a Vegas trip (yeee!) coming up, which is going to be a very good reset. New year around the corner. I’m trying not to miss him too much just because it’s the holidays. I’m trying to do me. Focus on me and work on me.