Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Week 1 of My 28th Year of Life

Being one's own boss....that's a very empowering feeling and one that carries inherent responsibilities. I had my second go at this experience, as my boss, Dr. Skouge, took a trip home to celebrate his mother's birthday. I knew what I had to get done and I had my mind set on getting everything done. When I set my mind on a goal, I develop a form of tunnel vision to some degree. This is both good and bad. I'll hopefully get to expound on this characteristic as my blogging continues.

My tasks for the week were clear cut: 1) Move video footage off of our external drives and onto mini DV tapes; 2) Convert and edit pictures taken during a Miloli'i (a small village on the Big Island of Hawaii) summer fun camp.

Although I had just celebrated my birthday on Sunday and could have easily rested at home on Monday, I decided to go into work. Here's a picture of the cake I had (guava chiffon, an unusual request on my part!):

Believe it or not, I did eat!

For me, I'm better able to find my sense of purpose by being out and actively doing, rather than doing nothing at home. Not to say I don't enjoy the occasional periods of "vegging out," otherwise known as doing nothing more than basking in the comforts of one's surroundings. I find that I get restless if I don't have anything to occupy my mind and time with; in a sense, I NEED mental stimulation. Thus, this summer has been such a treat! I've been busy, kept busy, for much of my days.

Anyway, Monday morning I get into the office and find 8 blank tapes...I wasn't exactly sure how much of them I'd actually fill. I quickly figured out that each tape holds 63 minutes of footage, nothing more! To start, it helps to actually know how to do what you're supposed to do....I know I was told, shown, and did transfer to mini DV from iMovie before, but it hasn't become a regular task so I was a bit unsure at first. But I quickly remembered; it's funny how the mind can become cued by littlest things. My cue was the word "Export;" I essentially broke my task down into fundamentals...what was I trying to do? Move or transfer something out of one place and into another, thus exporting or sharing! I found the option called 'Share' on the menu bar of iMovie. It worked, I had found success...a great feeling, indeed! I would soon come to the realization that this particular task would involve considerable "down time," in the sense that you have to wait for the footage to transfer and it processes in real-time. If you are moving a 45-minute piece, it will take 45-minutes to do so.

Multi-tasking - One of society's most valued concepts's about making the most out of one's time and energy, not just focusing on ONE task at a time, but rather looking to work on a multitude of tasks at once. Some people excel at this and are unbelievably efficient, others aren't. That's just how it is. I'm one who is comfortable with some multi-tasking, but I am not one who lives to do a 100 tasks at becomes hard for me to put forth my best effort in such circumstances, I'm more of a "looking at maybe one or two (possibly 3) tasks at any given time and giving 100% to those tasks" type of person. I find that if I extend myself beyond that, the quality of my efforts become lessened...I pride myself on quality work. In any case, I wanted to maximize my work efficiency, so I worked on editing photos on a laptop. While editing, I noticed that my ability to be aware of my surroundings was decreased by the fact that my back would be facing the door, because of the way I had set up my laptop "workstation." Creativity often stems from one's desire to solve minor problems or improve upon situations. I looked around the room, saw our lovely iSight cameras, and a light bulb went on in my head...I could use these cameras to serve as a surveillance or look-out tool!

So, there I was, setting up these cameras, one on a computer towards the inside of the room, and one on another laptop that was nearby to me (one that was in my line of sight, even while working on editing), really having no clear plan of what the heck I was doing. I suppose when you have no plan in mind, you can't really fail and the fun of creative solutions is found in the process itself. I positioned both cameras towards the door and opened up iChat, and made the computers, upon which these cameras were mounted, "talk" to each other. Essentially this gave me a full-screen video of the door, and a smaller image of the doorway/hallway. I sat there and, this is cool!...I can keep an eye on the door with my back towards it. This was literally like having eyes on the back of your head.

So, I proceeded to edit photos, all the while keeping an eye on the door. When the video finished transferring, I would change gears and cue up another video piece to move. I had a nifty system in place.

Later in the afternoon, a co-worker of mine, Rosie came in and that was a welcomed presence. She worked on making duplicate copies of a DVD for a show we produced, and that process also involves significant time. So, during one of our shared times of waiting, I asked Rosie if there was anything I could do to help her out the next time I came in. She mentioned making more copies of our DVD's...I was more than willing to do so.

By the time my work day ended on Monday, I filled 5 of the 6 tapes that I was left with. Progress was definitely being made, and at a faster rate than I had expected! Prior to leaving for the day, Jim called to check-in on our activities, and he mentioned the fact that he would be checking e-mail on a regular basis while fact, he mentioned this twice. Usually, when people mention something more than once, it's a hint that they want some sort of action taken. So, I came home that night, and e-mailed Jim a sort of daily task update, just so he could be aware of what was going on. I found this sort of writing to be almost relaxing and calming to some degree, as it was much like the writing I'm doing organized form, just writing whatever comes to mind at a given time, and not worrying about grammar (well, okay, maybe giving that just a little thought!).

On Tuesday, I stayed home, let my body rest and recover from a full day of being out and active. My body is in constant motion, due to the involuntary movements brought on by my Cerebral Palsy. So, a full day of being out, does take a toll as I feel a bit more fatigued than when I am just relaxing at home and don't need to concentrate my energies on making precise movements in order to perform tasks. Not to say that when I am home, my body acts differently...I guess it's more a matter of not having to focus on being at my peak performance level, and just letting my body do and work at it's leisure.

I worked on editing photos from home for a few hours, making more of a dent in the amount of photos that needed to be completed.

On Wednesday, I went into the office...ready for another day of doing as much as I could. I set up my little surveillance system, started up my transferring of footage to tape, began duplicating a DVD, and started more photo editing. Later that morning, a student who was in a class taught by Jim's colleague, Cecily, came in to say hello.

Having "strangers" come in to interact with you is really interesting! Soon, you shed the stranger label and begin to view them as friendly beings! This occurred twice during the week, and both times the visits resulted in conversations. These individuals weren't afraid or hesitant to ASK questions of me, as they related to goals and life perspectives. I love it when people ask me questions...too often, society is quick to use their own perceptions and judgements of others and hold those beliefs as truths, instead of taking the time to find out what's really going on...this is a natural response, living in such a fast-paced society. There simply isn't enough time to interact and get down to the truth of things and people. I respect and understand this. However, it IS very refreshing and great to know that there are people who will make the time, and take the time, to get to know how someone really is. Being in an office which people pass day in and day out, brings some familiarity to people, which probably leads to a heightened comfort level or curiosity to reach out and explore/investigate.

I'll be brief in my detailing of my workdays from here on out (at least for this entry!), with the thought that I don't want to bore people with minute details, that probably only I, myself, find interesting!

On Tuesday afternoon, one of my friends, who happens to have played for the UH football team, called me to invite me to join a bunch of them at Ryan's Grill at Ward Centre. Of course, in order to get there, I had to rely on "Mom's Taxi," so I had to clear it with her before I committed to attending. However, almost always, my mom, being so giving, has said yes to driving me where I need/want to go. It IS a dream of mine to be able to drive; I use "dream" loosely here, being that until I know for sure it is impossible for me to achieve, it can also be viewed as a goal. In any case, I joined my friends at dinner. We had a great time, enjoying each other's company. They celebrated my birthday with me, and treated me to a wonderful meal. We are all on different paths in is preparing for his first season as a professional athlete, one is managing a restaurant here in Hawaii, one is preparing for a career as a policeman, one is preparing for the upcoming season at UH, and one gearing up for his second year in his respective graduate program. With respect to allowing these "public" figures to enjoy a night out like any other person, I did not take pictures to capture the moment; I feel that everyone deserves privacy and the opportunity to have a meal without having the attention of fans. It's really neat to get to know people who we often view on television as "stars" away from that arena, and as everyday human beings...friends! On that note, I am definitely excited about the fast-approaching UH football season. It all starts up on August 9th, with fall camp; this basically entails 2 practices a day, usually 2-hours each. As players often say, THIS is where success begins! I'll share more thoughts on UH football in the coming weeks. But it's safe to say that I look forward to this time of year and experience sheer excitement over the course of a season.

On Wednesday afternoon, Rosie tracked down more mini DV tapes for me to use. I believe there were 6 more tapes made available. On Thursday, I knew that would be the last day I'd go in for the week, so I was determined to get as much done as I could. I put in a full day of work and then some! I managed to fill 13 tapes in all, with the 14th half filled and waiting for my return on Monday.

Mistakes and errors....We ALL experience this aspect of life. I hate making mistakes. However, I feel that mistakes ARE okay to commit, as long as one learns from their errors and makes a conscious effort not to make the same mistake twice! I experienced a lapse in judgment last week, and for a while it ate at me on the inside. But, I received words of reassurance and comfort from Rosie and Jim...I thank them for that. I also believe that when one makes a mistake, one needs to have strong integrity and take full responsibility for their actions. I immediately held myself accountable for my actions and intend for this to be the ONLY time I make the mistake I did. I also will accept whatever consequences that come as a result of my actions. "I have failed...That is why I succeed." This is one of my favorite quotes, made by Michael Jordan, that I use in my daily approach to life.

Lastly, a few random thoughts....Congratulations to Lance Armstrong for winning the Tour de France! What an amazing individual he is. I've been showing my support for him and the cause he stands for (finding a cure for cancer) by wearing a yellow rubberband on my wrist. You can learn more about it at Definitely a cause worth supporting!

It was great chatting with my friend, Ed, the other day. Ed's been one of my best friends for the past 14+ years. We first met during our freshman year at Kailua High School. Ed now lives in Okalahoma, with his wife, Brandi. They just got a cute white dog, named Krypto! Very cool....


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