Monday, February 23, 2009

File #90023220

A little post before midterms.

With midterms a little while away, I got to concentrate on other things than this and that other blog for a while. There's also a lot of work to be done with taxes coming up. I figured I should at least post another paper, but the papers I've reread lately all sucked hardcore, so I decided to not post any. I haven't been watching The Onion lately either, so nothing there.
But for those who need something to do, go find FillerBunny! It's from the same guy who made Invader Zim and its one hilarious comic. And I've also been reading Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning. I know I'm a sucker for detective stuff, but this is an entertaining read. I'm going to go and try and buy it at the bookstore now.

Well, I'd feel kinda empty if I left with just that today, so I decided to talk about a little where the story I posted a while ago came from. I've always been fascinated with war, the technology, the politics, the emotions before, during, and after the war. War is just so complex and there's so many things to investigate. A war isn't brought about by one single reason, and the result of one changes everything. Therefore, I wanted to try and write about one, encompassing all these different aspects of war. I went through many textbooks studying past wars, like the world wars, the "interventions" during the Cold War, and even dived into history a little to study things like the Hundred Years' War between France and England. Going further into history, there were things like the Napoleonic Wars and Crusades.
It was all good information and insight into the wars of the past, but I didn't think I could write about a modern war with information from the past. That's where movies and games came in.War movies, spy movies, and even documentaries helped in this aspect. I drew a lot of inspiration from movies like Spy Games, The Kingdom, Band of Brothers, and a bunch of others that I can't remember at the moment. Games helped a lot with the "first person aspect" that I wanted to portray in my story at times. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was one of the games I played recently that really aided me with its realistic modern war story. And also it was really genius story with awesome gameplay. (Captain Price, I salute you!)
But of course, the greatest aid to my story was indeed, other stories! I went through most of Tom Clancy's novels, as he's supposedly like a god in the genre of modern warfare. Another book I read recently that I got a lot from was Empire from Orson Scott Card, it was interesting with its idea of a second American Civil War in the modern age.
Well, for some reason, I can't leave it with just text today, so here's some things from one of my greatest inspirations, a game called Ace Combat. All about war and things that surround it. The Ace Combat series embodied everything I was looking for, a war, a hero, and stories about both. And it mixed into the gameplay really well to boot. The Ace Combat series are some of my most favorite games because of that.
Here you go. This first one is from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. And yes, that's Blurry from Puddle of Mudd.

Second up, Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.

And finally, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation!

Oh yeah, Ace Combat probably has the best english dub I ever heard. Ever.
Well, that's it for today, Kai out!

Monday, February 16, 2009

File #90026120

Excerpts from an essay written for Public Speaking

Everyday, you interact with countless amounts of people. These interactions may be direct or indirect, causing major or minor changes in the lives of others. Whether you know it or not, your actions are affecting the actions of others. Direct actions involve talking or coming in physical contact with someone, direct actions can be stopped with some effort, but indirect actions are much more difficult.
Indirect actions could be anything, getting a soda from a vending machine or parking awkwardly in the parking lot. Everything you do can have an effect on others around you. For example, let's say you get a coke from a soda vending machine. Later in the day, another student might not get one because you got one earlier. Of course, this would not be possible unless other individuals also bought the same soda using the same button as you did. That was a negative example, a more positive one is buying something at a store. That's right, just buying something at the store. You just gave someone money, and that's awesome. However, it remains indirect since your money may not go to the person you handed it to.
With that said, how many of our everyday actions affect someone else? Probably everything you do outside can cause an effect on someone. Obviously, most of your actions are not going to cause major changes in other people's lives, most changes are hardly noticeable and will never come back to you. Most reactions only come from people close to you or people you came into contact physically.
Depending on the type of person you are, this information may or may not affect you. People who don't really care about others(like myself) can make decisions that affect others without much thought. However, people who have concern for those around them may have a slightly more difficult time with such decisions. Different people also react differently to different situations. In the end, everyone's connected like a web, one touch could could just cause a bounce or cause the whole web to come apart.
Now, when I first introduced myself and said I was going to talk about relationships, this isn't what you had in mind is it? Well, don't worry, I'll talk about that right now. When I say relationships, most people think of boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.Now why is this? By standard definition, a relationship is defined as a connection, association, or involvement. Nothing about love there, right? But love is the most popular relationship there is, except for maybe hate.
Did you know that people are becoming more and more antisocial with every year? You can buy almost everything online, even groceries! With more people becoming shut ins, person-to-person relationships are becoming a little more rare. Many people even prefer to use the self-checkout lane at the local Walmart to skip the cashier. So in today's society, it is much harder to get a girlfriend/boyfriend, much less a friend in particular. Most people only have their small circle of friends they hang out with and talk to almost everyday. Outside of family, a person may only talk to several other individuals besides their own friends.
However, its not the same everywhere. Although it may be the case in most major cities, many small towns still retain that personal feeling. In small towns, everyone likes to know each other, one does not only now his neighbor, but his entire neighborhood.
Now why is this important? Consider this, during a disaster situation, is it not better to already know your neighbors and have that trust established instead of meeting them for the first time in an emergency situation? Trust is important in any and all relationships, even in hate. Think about it, two people who hate each other trusts the other to think they did something wrong. And with love, trust is obviously required.
Where am I going with this? Go outside, talk to some people, don't become a shut-in like some people in Japan. Social interactions are essential to living healthy. People may say talking to yourself is good for your mental health but let's face it, at least talking to someone else doesn't make you look like a retard. Talk to people outside of your circle, it may bring about new friendships, new opportunities, and maybe even that special someone. And for me, today, my greatest hope is that I've given you something to walk away with after listening to me for the past fifteen minutes.

Kai's Rant Theater 3000!
I've never really been to fond on relationships, so needless to say I didn't really like this paper when I first started it. To someone like me, relationships were like chains, holding me back from doing things, becomes weights that dragged me down. People I cared for or admired were taken from me, and people I didn't like got stuck with me. Getting a special someone is out of the question, and probably still is(laughs). That was how I viewed things growing up, cynical and realistic. I'm a little more positive now, relationships between people are actually worth keeping. Relationships between business partners, friends, and some other acquaintances I come in contact with every so often.
Writing this draft for my speech and talking to others about what they think on this subject taught me a lot. What relationships actually mean to people and how they affect people. Some people can't stand without relationships, others do just fine with only a few. Some are forced into having many, while others wish they had more.
As for me, I like to believe I can stand tall on own, but that's not entirely true. There's people I depend on everyday. My business partner and best friend, J(let's just call him that), is someone I probably couldn't do without. He helped me get to where I am today and continues to support me. Besides being a support unit, he is also my greatest rival. He inspires me to be greater(than him haha) and makes me strive for better than what I have.
And although I might be able to live on with only a few relationships, I don't want to ignore people. I accept people as friends, and accept others as fellow businessmen. I like to help people, being a helping hand when I can. I know by helping them I'm contradicting myself, but I feel that my views on life are not completely right and maybe by going against I will see a little of the other side.
The one relationship that is completely lost to me is family. The situation in my family has deteriorated so far that we hardly talk to each other. The other family member I talk to my brother, the others I never hear from and really don't want to. I say I blame it on my blood, that we are not blood-related, but there was more problems than that. In good will, I always wanted to repair the relationship. Many families are just fine, close even. Sometimes, I'm jealous of those families. But everytime I try, my efforts blow up in my face. So I give up. 'Til this day, this is probably my only failure and regret(or at least the largest one).
Because of that, I'm even afraid to get close to others. I've studied my fair share of psychology, I know that chances are high that I might turn into the people who raised me someday. That thought scares me everytime I think about it. For that reason, I will never drink, I will never get angry, and I will never fight anyone. I fear if I even give in a little, it will lead to me going down the road I certainly don't want to travel.
That said, it will probably be a long time before I find that special someone. There's many people who trust me and said it, but it will be some time before I get close to anyone. Before I can trust anyone, I need to learn to trust myself first. Until then, I guess I'll just continue being the helper/advisor. Hey it works for me.

Kai out!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

File Organizer #1

Mostly for myself, but those reading, I explained a little about each file, so its not completely useless.

File #80024210 - Research and Analysis on the Extent and Effects of Poverty on the Modern American Society.
Well, it was quite obviously from the get-go that I was watching Genshiken at the time. But other than that, this was one of "economy" papers I wrote for English 101. I wrote several papers for the topic of "economy" because I was not satisfied with many of them. This one, as it turns out, is one of them, as its just full of holes, logic jumps, convenient statistics, and a bunch of stuff I thought was rather poorly thought out. In the end, this was not the one I chose to present.

File #90029210 - Achieving Your Dreams
This file actually came out of a paper that had "significant moment in your life" as a topic. I could not just pick out one event, so I just spanned a few years instead. But as I went through writing it, it became something completely different so I didn't turn it in anyway. I later used bits and pieces of this paper for another writing with the topic of "childhood dreams/future aspirations" where it was much more appropriate.

File #90020310 - I Did It, and Here's How!
This file came from another "economy" paper, although much of the original paper has been cut out for space(and there was a lot of statistics I didn't want people to stare at and gouge their eyes out). The original paper focused mainly on how hard it is for people to save money in today's society and some ways to turn that around. I believe it was the best paper I had written thus far, and so it was the economy paper that I chose to submit to class.

File #90022020 - Hero
This one was part of the "hero" paper that everyone writes at least once in one of their English classes. I chose to write about heroes in general instead. The piece that I actually posted was from my first draft, which I honestly felt was too personal and rewrote it. The final paper was pretty long because I went into detail talking about comic book heroes, real heroes, and other heroes that one could possibly encounter(did not mention Heroes). This was the one topic that I did not write multiple papers for, simply because I rewrote the first and second draft.

File #90023020 - Home
The topic for this paper was "a special place", and I figured for most people, that would be their home. Most of the paper was actually about different homes lead to different people, both mentally and physically. So more than a paper on a special place, this paper turned out to be more of an analytical paper on homes. The paper itself was devoid of my personal history and such, as I tried to remain as impersonal as possible. But at the end of the week, I figured the paper had diverged too far from its topic and started another one on what is probably my special place, Hawaii. And that rant there, was definitely not there in the paper, that would have been horrible. Heh.

Monday, February 2, 2009

File #90023020

Excerpts from an essay written in Freshman Year for English 101

Home, many places come to mind when that word is mentioned. A house, apartment, condo, townhouse, trailer, or even RV. Everyone's home is different, from the place itself to the people in them. From a small studio apartment to a mansion, every home is diverse in size, layout, architecture, and location. And inside them, the residents are also diversified. It could be a single college student(hey, that's me!) or a family of four.
But of course, that's what most people think when I say residence, Home, to people, means something a little more abstract. Ever heard of "home is where the heart is"? Apparently, home can be anywhere where your loved ones are. Wait a minute, then what about me? Is it saying that I haven't been living at my home for the past five years? Obviously, this idiom isn't the true meaning of home. After all, aren't homes a little more important to us than just having our families and special someones?
According to studies all over the place, a person can determine a person's psychology. People with dysfunctional homes often have a negative mindset than those whose homes are all bright and happy. It is also said that a home reflects the residents' state of being. Unorganized people will most likely have a messy home, a person who works all day will have a layer of dust is some of the more less visited places in his home. One can also tell many of the characteristics of a resident by examining his/her home. For me, it was obvious that I placed my computer and cooking above everything else because the most expensive thing in my house is my $2000 computer, and my kitchen was noticeably the best place in my home. Those aspects were prioritized over even my sleeping place, which for the longest time was a futon on the floor in the corner of the room.
Passing all that, what does home truly mean? For people like me with literally no one close, it isn't "where the heart is". Another meaning is that a home is where one grew up. Many children growing up in one home, which becomes the only place they associate with the word "home". But that doesn't work for me either, I'm 4494 miles away from my first home and I honestly don't remember it at all. But I will support this point a little in saying that my birthplace is the only place I would be willing to establish a permanent residence.(Sorry FL, you're awesome, but not as awesome as HI!)
Moving on, the mean of home I think is the the closest to the truth: home is where you return to at night. I think it fits the bill the most comfortably. After all, that holds true for me. At the end of the day, I always find myself back in my nice rented house in Atlanta, GA. There may be times I sleep in a hotel in Tampa or at a friend's place in Jacksonville, but at the end of the week I know I always sleep more at my home.
But of course, my definition of home doesn't fit everybody. For some, it may truly be "where the heart is" or where they grew up. And even for me, I have to contradict myself and I agree just a little bit. If I had a family that cared, I'd probably call that place home. Or if I still lived in Hawaii, I would definitely call that home.
I think when it comes down to it though, home is where you end up at the end of your respective day. For me, it will be this house in Atlanta, but someday it will be in Lihue, Kauai.

Stepping aside from all the abstract concepts now, I haven't done a Kai's Rant Theater 3000 on this site yet, so I'll take this time to rant about my "home", past and present. I suggest most people just leave now because this part is 100% rant.
In the past, I lived in Honolulu, HI for a while. It is what I considered to be the best city in the world. No cars in the street at night(can you imagine any other city like that?), a beautiful skyline, and an even more beautiful beach. I lived on the 10th floor of the Kukui Plaza, which was quite an awesome apartment complex.The view from the window was amazing, and the apartment itself wasn't bad. I lived with my new family(I was adopted), but the mother divorced soon after. My father was always out at work, so I don't blame him for never being around. He was providing money for my brother and I, which I believe is more important than keeping me company. My brother and I had to walk to school every morning and walk back once school was over, but I would somehow lose him somewhere along the way. He would always arrive at home before I did, but I always had to check the mail, which meant I had to go to the mail room on the first floor.
Then we moved to Kauai, Banyan Harbor, a nice condominium in Nawiliwili Bay. Back when I lived there, it was just an apartment, not a resort. It was one of the best places I felt I ever lived in. It was a small condo, but everything was superb. The view from the balcony, the cool ocean breeze, the beach only a short walk away, the pier at the same distance, and it was located in a small island town with lots of green and blue(trees and water). I told myself that if I couldn't get a house, I'd just get a condo here. That was until it became a resort hotel.
We moved around to two different house after that, and my father got remarried. Those houses were not really noteworthy, even though I loved both of them. At this stage in life, I was adjusting to having a mother in the house again, and a father who was around more because of a secondary income.
My one year in Denver was a disaster. My father forced me into band and the Gifted & Talented program, which took up all my time between studying and practicing for band class. Although I did manage to beat almost every first chair in the class, my studies didn't go as well. B's and C's weren't good enough for my father, that was the first time I really got to see my father upset.
Then it was Sunshine State time in good ol' Florida. The little town of Auburndale reminded me a lot of Lihue. My life eventually got back on track with new friends and grades improved. Until sophomore year when I went temporarily crazy over the the stress of work, study, and many other issues at the time. In the end, I was kicked out of the house and lived in a nearby park for a day until the father of one of my friends saw me walking down the street.
I lived at their house for a few weeks until I got a small apartment in the nearby town of Lakeland. I then began my new line of work in finances and finished high school. Living alone and graduating high school felt like an accomplishment at the time. I had an apartment, a car, and a good-paying job. Most high school graduates don't have that.
With all that, I paid my own way into USF in Tampa. I lived in the dorms for about a year and a half before getting an apartment of my own. It was a cheap 1 bed/1 bath apartment on the second floor in a particularly "bad" part of town. But I was lucky to never have my apartment broken into or my car vandalized. Although it did get towed once.
And now I find myself in Atlanta, GA. Going to GATech and loving it. I still love my job and I got enough money to do whatever I want. I believe I'll stay here until I graduate or find another reason to move. I don't know where I'll go, but I know where I'll end up.
Lihue, Hawaii. There's actually a nicer, more beautiful place on Kauai named Poipu, but that's way expensive. It's like the rich of the rich places. I'll settle for my hometown. Although if I move to Honolulu instead, I'll gladly return to Kukui Plaza.
I'm not exactly sure what the point of this rant was, but oh well.That was my home, past, present, and most likely future.

The rant was inspired by this song stuck in my head:

File #90022020

Excerpts from an essay written in Freshman Year for English 102

Everyone had someone they consider to be a hero, be it a cartoon character or a person in their life. It could have been their father, mother, brother, or friend. Some heroes are comic characters like Superman or Batman. These fictional heroes fill children with awe and inspiration, but as people grow older they find new and more realistic heroes. Sometimes that hero leads them to their respective future careers like being a fireman or a police officer.
A hero is someone for more than than just an idol of admiration. The official definition of a hero(or just one of them) is a person distinguished with exceptional courage, nobility, and strength. Therefore a hero is someone who is seen as not only strong, but noble and fearless in the face of danger. A hero becomes a person's goal, to become the hero, or merely get a step closer to said hero. The hero may be the person's inspiration to get through tough days, or the reason why someone stays on the right path. Or course, sometimes heroism goes the wrong way, but let's not talk about that.
When I was a child, I believed I didn't really have a hero. There were people I looked up to, but none I thought was truly a hero. To me, they were ordinary people, doing ordinary things. I believed that a hero had to be extraordinary, and that a hero had to be idolized by all, not just one. But we all know that isn't true, most heroes are those ordinary folk, doing ordinary things. But in the eyes of the beholder, that simple ordinary task becomes something more glorious and extraordinary. Something like saving someone from being bullied or just offering a helping hand to someone in need. It only takes something that simple to become a hero.
But even so, I didn't have a hero. I held onto the belief that having a hero was a sign of weakness. I thought that people looked up to heroes because the heroes had something they didn't, be it strength or courage or whatnot. I did not want to become dependent on a fictional character, much less a real person. Call me a realist, but I was a really cynical kid back then.
I had my role models though, and in hindsight, those people may have very well been my "heroes". From the childhood friend who was always one step ahead, to the person who was like an older brother to me, I had a lot of help on the way to where I am now. These people did nothing special, they didn't save my life or anything. Most of the time, they were just there. And that was all it took, they were there for me. I remember the person who appeared to be like an older brother to me was quite an idiot. I lived in Kauai at the time, one year before my unexpected departure from the island to the States. He was a clumsy person who you couldn't give anything fragile because he would break it. But he was always there, whether I just wanted to hang out or wanted advice about something. He was there, and that meant a lot to me. My parents and my own brother were never around, and if they were, they would just tell me to clean the house or something like that. Because of that, I don't actually believe he was hero, but more of the convenient outlet.
But that makes me wonder, what does it take to be someone's hero? If it was as simple as being there for someone, have I become someone's hero? There were countless people I went out of my way to help, and probably even more that I don't remember. Even only counting my job, I turned the financial situation around for many people and their families. I still get calls from them every so often. They thank me every time, and one always me invited my dinner on special occasions. Am I a hero to these people? A part of me likes to think so, the part that loves my job and wants to help people. But there's a part of me that doesn't like being a hero. Being a hero means more than being a hero for just one time, it means being a hero for life. My cynical side believes that's a huge burden. Who can guarantee that I'll be as good tomorrow as I was today? I may be getting people out of debt today, but several years down the road I might be ripping people off. And I don't even know if I'm causing damage to someone right now. And that's the other thing I don't like about heroes, they aren't universal. One person's hero maybe another person's villain.
That aside, going back to my childhood, there was probably even more people that looked up to me. Despite being a cynical person, I liked to help people, I volunteered for a lot of things and was a cub scout(later a boy scout).Maybe it's the Hawaiian side of me, but being a friend just felt good. It felt good to see people laugh and smile, and helped me stop being cynical 100% of the time. The older I grew, the more I helped people. I got a job to help my parents, and used the money to buy gifts for friends who needed that "pick-me-up" feeling. In high school, there was always people around my desk(which sometimes made it annoying), they asked me how I got so rich, or just hung out. They liked to hear my stories of things I did, although I liked to listen to them more. Looking back again, I guess I was the one who was there for them. There was one I even got into a fight for, it was not as dramatic as you see in television shows and such, but I'm sure those guys I punched in the face hate me now.
So am I a hero? I think not. I think I'm just a friend, someone who just likes to help. I do some things worthy of praise, but nothing worth any worship. I do just as much evil as I do good. There probably are people who see me as good and others who see me as the personification of pure evil in its truest form.
I like to believe I grew up by myself and not dependent on a hero, that I grew up strong and independent. And I'll keep believing that until someone comes around that will sweep me off my feet.