Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Happy New Year

As I prepare for the start of the Spring 2005 semester, I thought I'd compose a short post to update you all as to what I have been up to. I sit here in amazement and disbelief that I'm hours away from ending my "winter break" and starting up another semester in graduate school and as a graduate assistant working on Dr. David Leake's project, which can be viewed here. I will continue working under the direction of Dr. Jim Skouge and I truly look forward to another semester of learning by being around Jim and through hands-on learning. They say the best way to learn anything is to actually have the opportunity to TRY something for yourself...I wholeheartedly believe in that line of thought.

I have been working with Dr. Michael D'Andrea, a professor in the Counselor Education department at the University of Hawaii, quite extensively throughout this break. We're hours away from launching a state-of-the-art newsletter for the National Institute for Multicultural Competence (NIMC). This experience has truly provided me with an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow, as I was entrusted with the responsibility to create and maintain the website. I'll provide you with the link as soon as the site is officially launched, most likely tomorrow, January 10. I am very proud of my contributions to this endeavor, not because I did anything spectacular, but rather because I took on the challenge of being a part of something of great importance and I created something that I put my full effort and energy into. I admittedly had NO formal training in webpage design/creation, but I learned by trial and error (hands-on learning), which provides me with a greater sense of pride. I'll continue to learn and grow by being a part of this electronic newsletter and my aim is to use the knowledge I gain by doing this and apply it to help OTHER people as well! I believe that knowledge gained should be shared with others; I believe I've blogged about this, but this is a value that I have gained by being associated with Jim. Another person who exemplifies this value is my friend, Doug Hamasaki, a media specialist in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii. Doug is, and continues to be, a great source of support and encouragement for me. He constantly reminds me of the great potential opportunities that lay ahead of me if I only take the bull by the horns and actively take full advantage of these chances. "You only get one shot...opportunity comes once in a lifetime," as Eminem raps in his song Lose Yourself.

During the break, I continued to keep my mind active and busy. I went into work, despite Jim suggesting that I take time to enjoy my vacation. I worked on minor tasks that had been left for me, DVD duplicating/authoring, clearing hard drive space, securing funding that Jim will use to purchase equipment for our office with, etc. Little tasks that I felt better completing and entering the new semester with a fresh slate.

I did enjoy the company of my sisters, Lynn and Lori, as they came home from their respective schools on the continent. Lynn has actually graduated with her degree and will be looking for work at her alma mater, somewhere where it rains quite often! Congratulations Lynn on your earning your degree....sure you finished in 3 1/2 years, just to rub in the fact that I took forever to earn my BA, but hey, we're both college graduates now! I know you'll do great in whatever you pursue. Lori will complete her studies this spring. It's an amazing thought that my parents had 3 children attending college all at once! I believe that it is a credit to them that they instilled the values of hard work and stressed the importance of education from an early age in all of us. It never became something where we questioned our futures beyond high school, I believe we all felt that college would be where our futures would be forged. If anyone told me that I'd continue onto graduate school when I graduated from high school, I probably would not have believed them. My idea was that I'd earn my degree in computer science in 4 years, then hit the jackpot by being a computer programmer. It's funny how things work out the way they do because I truly believe that I AM doing what I was ultimately born to do, and that is help people on a direct level. Sure, I could have made great contributions by being a computer programmer, but that's more of an indirect way of helping, assuming one created programs of substance and not just "stuff" just to create it. So, what am I trying to say by discussing all of this? I believe that having that family support is so very important and vital in ANY child's success. I also believe that in order for a child to fully flourish, s/he must be provided with the opportunity and freedom to explore and go after what S/HE wants to do, as opposed to being steered or guided in a specific direction. I look forward to attending my sisters' graduations later this year, hopefully we'll make it!

A resolution for 2005....I honestly haven't thought about this, nor do I really put any emphasis on making any resolutions each year. I believe my resolution for 2004 was to be more of a risk taker, and try things without thinking about them/analyzing the situation so much. Did I succeed in that area? To some degree, yes I did! I took on challenges, or risks, without doing a whole self-reflection analysis before saying, "Okay, I'll do it!" For example, the graduate assistant position opportunity with Dr. Leake sort of just sprung up, and I was in a situation where I knew right away that I'd be foolish NOT to accept the position so I jumped right in. Whereas in the past, I might have said, "Thanks for the offer, but I need some time to think about it." Jim had something to do with this, as he essentially accepted the position for me, for he knew right away that it was a great, great opportunity. The second example of my taking more risks would be my involvement in the NIMC online newsletter. Dr. D'Andrea approached me about it during the fall semester and although I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into, I said "yes!" immediately. Another example that I can point is my speaking to two athletic teams at the University of Hawaii. I was asked if I'd consider, and I immediately agreed to do it because I knew the benefits far outweighed any risks or negatives associated with the opportunity. I suppose the only risk was that I had to open up and share quite a bit about myself with essentially strangers, people I knew only from enjoying them on TV or at sporting events. However, I STILL feel that I could be more of a risk taker, so I'll make that my resolution again for 2005! I will be more of a risk taker and allow my gut feeling to guide me, as opposed to overanalyzing the situation at hand.

Last Friday, I attempted to organize a social event for the alumni and current members of Mortar Board, an honor society for seniors at the University of Hawaii. Attendance was not very high, not unusual for socials like this, but it was fun nonetheless. We mingled at Brew Moon, a local pub and restaurant in Ward Centre. Everyone had a good time, and it was nice to see friends who I hadn't seen in a while. My co-worker, Steven, and fellow GA, Sabrina joined the fun which was nice!

Last night, my friend, Sabrina, and I went to see a puppet show at Kennedy theater, on the campus of UH. Yes, a puppet show! It was a Jim Gamble production, and this puppeteer has been doing shows here in Hawaii for 30 years. I can recall attending his shows as a young kid each year, so it was nice to revisit something from my childhood. I had a great time at the show, the theme was being at a circus, so the puppets were all characters you'd find at a circus. It was just neat to see and hear all these children having fun before, during, and after the event. I suppose that was my last fun event before ending my break...if you're gonna end with a bang, how can you go wrong with a puppet show!

Feelings are an interesting phenomena to analyze and experience. My latest overanalyzation attempt involves figuring out if one should follow one's mind or one's heart. The challenge is that one part says/tells you to one thing, while the other part says/tells you something else. I suppose its like the good/evil characters that you'll often find in cartoons and each one tries to win over the other. It is Japanese culture to not discuss or talk about feelings, but rather be stoic and keep whatever you're thinking inside. And, there definitely ARE advantages to holding to that train of thought. However, it IS nice to be able to be more open and honest about one's feelings and thoughts. So much for being stoic! I'm realizing that I'm blogging about feelings...I'll end this portion now before I start rambling on too much!

Well, I think that concludes my first entry of the year. Art Enabled 2005 will take place this year; I will continue to keep blogging about this just to keep my focus and energy up for it! We received our first response, based on the numerous letters of inquiry/announcement that Sabrina and I composed. The result of the first response: We have our first participants/attendees for the event, scheduled for July 22, 2005! Again, if any of you are interested and wish to learn more or even possibly volunteer, please contact us through

Have a great 2005 and please don't hesitate to leave feedback or comments for me by using the 'Comment' feature at the bottom of this post. I promise to respond to ANY comments that you leave!

Randomness for the week:

Me just prior to January 1, 2005 not drunk!

Homemade sushi for new years!

We went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate
my sisters' birthday!

Who doesn't love Ronald McDonald?!

Until next time...


Post a Comment

<< Home