Learning to Surf


Writing about happy things is suppose to be good for you so here's one.

In 2017 I started learning to surf πŸ„β€β™‚οΈ

It's kind of sad that I hadn't really surfed before. I grew up in Orange County California which is somewhat famous for surfing. As a kid my mom took me and my sister to the beach like 3 or 4 times a week at least one summer. As an adult one of my great uncles gave me an old longboard. I told myself I'd use it someday but never did. None of my friends were surfers. I also lived in both Corona Del Mar and Huntington Beach just a few blocks from the beach at different times in my life but never got into surfing. Maybe one reason is I didn't feel like a whatever my stereo type of "surfer dude" is. Bad on me to have that stereotype.

I did take a lesson once in Kauai with my nephew. The thing I remember most about that lesson was then instructor telling us if we have to wear a wetsuit it's not surfing. πŸ˜‚ Of course one lesson is not enough.

I also took a short lesson in Thailand once even though Thailand has pretty horrible waves πŸ˜›

Anyway, the summer of 2017 I stumbled on a meetup called "Surfing for Beginners" and thought "I should check that out!". It turned out to be pretty awesome. It's probably almost a business but the guy that runs it is a surf instructor and he rents a beach house in Onjuku, Chiba. He picks us up in Shibuya at 6am and by around 9am we're at the beach house. Surf for 3 hours or so then get lunch and head back. Usually back by around 6pm.

Some days he might do double surf as in 9am to 12pm, then lunch, then more surfing 3pm to 6pm or so. He even has trips to Shizuoka but those start at 1am and he drives down getting to the beach in Shizuoka at around 4:30am. Getting prepped to surf you get in the water about 5am just as it's getting light out.

The number one thing that's stuck out so far is just how hard it is to surf. I guess I thought it would be like Point Break where Johnny Utah from the midwest shows in Malibu California and after about 3 days out he's surfing like a pro or at least actually surfing.

Me, I think I've been 25 times now including a week long course I took in the Shonan/Enoshima area and I still can't actually surf.

What I mean by can't surf is that real surfing, my impression is, you're on a "green wave" (a wave that hasn't broken yet). You basically slide down the wave just like skiing or snowboarding on snow except you're on water. You turn away from the break to keep yourself on the unbroken part of wave and you're basically sliding down the hill the wave is making.

Getting to that is supposed to be where the real thrill is. It's the part where you "get surfing" and you fall in love with that feeling of riding the wave.

Well, I have never had that experience yet. Instead so far I've only been able to ride broken waves. In those cases instead of sliding down the wave the wave is basically pushing you. It's still fun and you learn to balance but it's not the goal.

I'm actually suprised it's so hard. How did anyone stick it out long enough to figure out the good way πŸ˜…. I'm going to guess some people are more naturals. Also maybe people that are really fit. Of course Johnny Utah from Point Break is fiction but he was also supposed to be a college football star player so he was clearly fit and surfing probably takes some serious core muscles to keep your balance well.

Still, looking at my fellow meetup friends many of them have been just as many times and are also still at the "pushed by the wave" stage instead of the "ride down the wave" stage. So maybe it just is hard. Luckily, even though it's hard it still just fun to be at the beach and in the water, at least in the summer.

Last month, December 2018, they organized surfing trip to Bali, Indonesia.

One thing I hoped for is better waves. The waves in Onjuku are not the smooth perfectly curling waves you see in surfing videos. They aren't horrible as our instructor can get good rides from them but they are also probably harder to learn on vs some place with smoother waves.

I've thought about trying to take a 2-4 week vacation somewhere with good waves so I could hopefully get to the riding stage instead of the pushed stage.

The Bali trip turned out to be pretty crazy. The first day our guides took us to a place with waves that looked like those perfect curling waves. We separated into 2 groups. The pros and the noobs. Us noobs got in the water in one place and within a set or 2 the waves seemed way way bigger than we were prepared for.

Like I mentioned above I spent a lot of time at the beach as a kid so I'm used to diving under waves but I'm not used to doing with a surfboard so they waves picked me up and tumbled for a good long while. I felt pretty panicced honestly. They come in sets and recovering from one was not giving me time to prepare for the next and I was running out of strength.

I managed to make it out of the wave area and back to the shore and decided I was done for now with that location. Beyond my skill level. That's when I found out the other 3 noobs had gotten washed into some rocks by the big waves. Not big rocks but still more waves keep coming in making it hard to get away from the rocks. But that wasn't the worst part. There were sea urchins and all 3 of them had stepped on them once they got pushed into the rocks.

The next hour or so was spent pulling out sea urchin needles from their feet. Having the needles in their feet didn't look nearly as painful as pulling them out. 😱

It couldn't have been that bad because 2 of them went surfing at our next location the same day. That ended up also being a little scary for me.

At the second location we surfed out on some reef probably a mile or 2km from the shore. A boat took us out there and basically they told the noob group, "get out here and surf this break, we'll be back in 3hours" and my gut reaction was "WTF?! You want me to tread water for 3hrs? If I get tired I'll die!!!" Normally surfing near the shoreline if you get tired you just go to the beach and rest but here being a 2km out there was going to be no resting. Having felt like I nearly died in the morning from not enough strength I was kind of scared but the other noobs jumped right off the boat like it was nothing so YOLO! I jumped in too.

To be fair you have your board. The water in the area was calm, no waves, and then in a certain area of the reef there was a break to ride. Outside that area was calm so you can just hold on to your board. You're not really treading water for 3hrs. Still, balancing on a board, even not standing is not zero work. I mananged but later that night around 11pm my muscles told me how out of shape I was. I could barely lift my arms. I had to stay in bed the second day to recover 😝

Fortunately I was okay to go again the 3rd day. There was great area with waves just the right size. Got some good practice. Still not "riding" but getting closer.

Unfortunately I burnt my legs so sat it out the 4th day.

Still, even if I can't really surf yet being a the beach in the water is great.

Hopefully this year I figure out how to really ride a wave! 😎


Life Goals 2018


I guess it's that time for me to rant about the same things I've ranted about before. Namely that I'm lost in life and don't know what to do.

I want to be happy. Not even sure what that means. I also want money, not for the purpose of being rich but for the purpose of freedom. I haven't worked in 5 years now. I quit my job in June 2013 and it's now June 2018. I had no intention of having no job this long. I thought I'd get some inspiration within 6 months of quiting and be off doing something amazing.

Instead I'm alone and isolated with no direction. I have no idea what I want to do anymore and I maybe have slightly conflicting goals. I feel somewhat spoiled rotten having worked at Google for 5 years. I'm sure I said this previously but working at Google allowed me to attend conferences, give talks, take off 5 weeks a year, work from remote offices all over the world, work at home when I want, and get paid crazy money. The crazy money let me have these 5 years off and travel etc and of course when people find out they are jealous or envious.

And, hearing that just makes me feel sooo stupid. From my POV I've nearly completely wasted the last 5 years. I have almost nothing to show for it. It's partly because it wasn't the plan. If I had said to myself "I'm going to take off 5 years and do X, Y, and Z" where X, Y, and Z where concrete things (travel to X, learn Y, etc) I probably would have done X, Y, and Z but instead my plan has always been, "figure out someting to do and do it ASAP". and that frame has some how encouraged me to do nothing.

In a "I'm hope I'm not really that lame" defensive mode, of course there were tiny personal projects. happyfuntimes sucked up about 14 months here and there. vertexshaderart sucked up maybe a 6 weeks on and off. mopho-v probably ate 2 months. But most of those seem like a distraction. I guess HFT was not but the others seem like procrastination from actually making a decision.

There have also been a list of things I've avoided doing because when I think about them they also seem like distractions. For example I have a list of 30 or so WebGL articles I thought about writing but whenever I get the itch to start I remind myself that I'm just putting off more important stuff. Heck, writing this blog post is probably another form of procastination.

The freedom that money brings (or brought) is one reason why it's hard to go back to anything that pays significantly less. Espeically given that I'll be 53 soon I have supposedly 12 years to save for retirement and I'm not ready at all. So I can try to go back to one of the big high paying Silicon Valley companies and save for retirement or I can choose something else and not be sure I'll have enough to retire.

People often say "choose happiness over money" and I mostly agree with the sentiment but on closer inspection it's not that simple. What are we really choosing between? I can't say working on games makes me as happy as it used to, at least at the moment so choosing to get paid X/6 instead of X for a job that doesn't make me any more happy doesn't seem like I'm really choosing happiness.

Sometimes it crosses my mind to work at some small indie company as it sounds fun to be in a small tight knit group but most of the time that really means getting paid 5-20% of what I can make in SV and working to make my boss rich, effectively giving him my life in exchange for a small salary. That hardly seems like a fair trade or happiness.

If there was some indie group to join where we shared the profits that might be more appealing but then we're into the current reality which is that there are too many games and it's super hard to make a hit the odds are so low that our game will make it's money back.

I've mentioned this before but I'm also not sure how much I like games anymore. I absolutely loved Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I probably spent 120hrs playing. I also loved the new God of War for PS4 and spent 20-25hrs but both of those are giant team games and being one of the 400 people that made them is not appealing.

Lately the biggest issue I think is the isolation. I'm alone most days. 4-6 days a week I see no one, well, no friends. I might go to the cafe or coffee shop but I don't talk to anyone. So that's the #1 thing that needs to be fixed but I have no idea how to fix it. Do I get an office and hire people with the major goal of just being in a office with those people? Where do I find them? Should I join an indie studio solely to have comrades even if it means I won't make enough money to retire?

Where do I meet these people and how to I work to turn them from people I don't know with people I'm working with at some office where we can share the comradre that makes working fun? I do try to go to 1 to 2 meetups a week but so far I haven't hit it off with anyone to make any new hangout buddies.

I saw an amazing talk recently

It's by Laralyn McWilliams who is a game designer that also faught and is fighting cancer and her search to keep going. Of course I don't have cancer (knock on wood) but there was still lots of good adivce.

I think the one that stuck out the most is that "creativity is a habit". She pointed out that going into work everyday and creating stuff is a habit and that when you get out of that habit it's hard to be creative. She mentioned that during her cancer treatment you can go for months without eating directly and that the doctors told her she needed to swallow some water or anything every day because if she didn't her body could forget how to swallow!!! It sounds incredible but apparently it's a real thing. She pointed out if you can forget how to swallow because it's a habit you can forget how to do pretty much anything. In her case that was how to be creative from not doing it for 8-9 months.

Another point she made was that "it's not you". The habit thing points out that being in the habit of being creative keeps you creative. It's not that you are no longer creative it's that you stopped the habit. You stopped being at the office with others spending a few hours a day bouncing ideas off each other and actually creating.

Well yea, that certainly fits me. Not only have I not been at the office for 5 years. I haven't been in a really creative habit like position for 10 years. Since I started at Google. That's probably not fair as much of the programming work I did (and everyone does) is in and of itself semi creative. You're creating new code that didn't exist before. But, the act of making something "art" creative, like a game, and bouncing game design ideas around is something that I've gotten further and further away from over the years.

Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this. Like many of my blog posts in the last few years I'm probably writing this more for myself than anyone that's reading this.

Still, I have no clue. I've also mentioned how hard it is to decide. If someone said "here's $40 million, take as long as you want and make your dream game" I might do it. Since that is unlikely to happen though then at almost 53 I feel like I basically get to pick one more thing. Pick well and I might live happily ever after. Pick poorly and I'll be struggling for years to come with no way to recover. This comes up especially talking to younger people who still have time to recover from their mistakes. They aren't at an age in their life where they can see the doors closing. Maybe that's a bad attitude but I'm not sure how to avoid what feels like my reality.

I've thought about talking to a counsellor or therapist or life coach but it turns out those don't really exist in Japan. It tried some online one about a year ago but it was horrible. I wrote a a few paragraphs and effectively got back a short one sentence generic reply. Wrote some more and again got a once sentence generic reply. Maybe it was just the bad roll of the dice and I should try again but it was seriously bad.

Another issue that keeps coming up is why am I in Japan. Of course I love parts of it but I hate other parts. With Japan's popuation supposed to tank (down 30% in the next 40 years) Japan could be the next Detroit. I don't think I'll ever be close to fluent. This is another one of those bad or unfortunate planning things where if I'd known I wouldn't find the thing I want to do for the last 2 years I would have (and did) consider going back to Japanese school full time. I didn't do that because I figured that would put my mind on learning Japanese and not on figuring out my career/life. Now though 2 years since I got my visa and have been officially living in Japan and I didn't make any progress on the life/career thing so that 2 years is just gone.

Maybe there is a lesson in there somewhere that should just do whatever is in front of me and ignore the future?

That brings up an interesting topic (which I probably wrote before) but sometimes I feel like I stepped out of reality. By that I mean it feels like most people or most of the people I know need a job and they generally do whatever job happens to fall in their lap. Their life is mostly driven by the opportunities that present themselves, not by their direct decisions. That certainly describes my life in many ways. Sure I wanted to make video games as a kid but the majority of my jobs came from random luck vs me actively knowing what I want and seeking it out. My impression is that's what happens to the majority of people. But, I got this chance to step out of that and I'm completely failing to take advantage of my chance to change that and actually choose my own path.

Is it all just excuses? I make the excuse I don't have access to $40 million so I can't just make my dream game (just an example). I can make the excuse that I don't have retirement money so therefore I have to choose somethign that will earn me that and therefore there's a host fo things I can't choose. I can make the excuse that I don't even know what I really want to do anymore and therefore have no way to choose.

I think a life coach would just say pick a direction, regardless, and go! Step in and commit to something and just see where it leads. That's probably good imaginary advice.

But, as soon as I try to force a direction I run into perceived roadblocks or maybe rather I run into things I'm unfamilar with and therefore they make me uncomfortable?

For example last summer as I was getting my visa renewed I told myself I was going to rent an office. My thinking was having a place to go to work each day would give me the habit I mentioned above. I looked around but the more I thought about it the more I thought that hanging out at an office all by myself would be even more isolating than sitting at a cafe. I also couldn't really see how to get more people in that office short of hiring them. I could rent a large office and try to make it a collective or a co-working space but didn't have the confidence I'd find people and prices in Tokyo are high so an office big enough to share is probably $50k+ a year in rent?

So, I talked myself out of it. But, that just puts me back at not doing anything and not even knowing what I want to do.

😠 Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―


Someone tried to impersonate my Father to scam me on Facebook


This is effed up! Some scammer just tried to impersonate my father.

I got a friend request from "Terry Tavares" with a picture of my dad. I thought to myself "hmm, I didn't unfriend him, maybe he made a new account or maybe he unfriended me by mistake?" So I accepted.


There's a Special Place in Hell for Dentists!


Going to the dentist is often hell for me.

I've already bitched about this before but DAMMIT! It HURTS! It's fucking torture!

I brush and floss EVERY SINGLE DAY. I also use one of these dental pick type brushes after brushing and flossing to get into the cracks etc. Lately I started getting pain like the time a dentist caused me so much pain I needed 600mg of Ibuprofen every 3 hrs for a month). This new pain is similar feeling but not quite as bad. It's comes and goes but generally I get it at least once or twice a day. Yesterday it came 3 times. If I'm lucky it goes away by itself but 5 times out of 6 I need to take 200−400mg of Ibuprofen and then 20−30 minutes later it's gone. When it really hurts I can feel it from my temple to neck.


Rant - Colds!


I've had 4 cold this year but they've knocked me out 7 weeks and running so far


Finding Motivation


I didn't know what to title this post. "Starting over"? "Looking for inspiration"?

I gave my resignation letter a couple of weeks ago and last Friday was my last day at Google. I left on good terms and they were sad to see me go. Google is a great place to work and I've recommended it to all of my friends. But, at this point in my life I was not happy with my life including Google. That's not Google's fault it's mine.


Lost, Jaded, and without Direction


I feel like a dork writing this post. It's certainly #firstworldproblems and I'm certainly lucky to be able to do this but ... I'm kind of freaking out.

I mentioned I quit my job and decided to travel. But now I'm finding travel is kind of .. um, overrated? I guess that's a personality thing. Some people might find it invigorating to travel long term. Me, not so much. Elizabeth Dunn claims long vacations don't make you more happy than short ones. The advice seems to be take lots of short trips rather the 1 long trip. Sitting on a beach watching the sunset is great but after a while everything gets old? I don't know if that makes any sense. Maybe a more common example is going to say 5 different cities in Europe and after visiting the biggest church, market, museum in the first 3 cities not really feeling like visiting the more churches, markets, and museums in the remaining 2.

Another thing that's happened is my burn rate is higher than I expected. I don't like naming numbers because it makes people jealous and reveals how lucky I am and how whining about it so messed up but ... as I mentioned I was paying certain amount a month in San Francisco for rent. So, my goal was to spend not too much more than that for hotels while traveling. That means staying at places under a certain amount a night. Except for hostels though that's a really hard goal to meet in certain places. I managed it in some cities in Europe but London? Not a chance. Singapore? No way. Honolulu. Not even close. Tokyo I managed to rent a short term apartment within my budget but only because I committed to being there several months.

I guess all of that is basically the long way of saying I feel pressure to choose a place and live there to lower my expenses. And that brings up my issue. Where? I still have no clue what I want to do. Indie games? I need partner🌙. Do I really want to do make indie games? I don't know.

Teach? Clearly I've written several educational articles on my other blog and I've been answering questions on stack overflow which makes me feel good but teaching sounds like a very low−paying job and I'm not sure I'm willing to go there. Also teaching sounds like a highly political job at most schools. Maybe I should start my own? But I have no clue how to do that or if I'm motivated or skilled enough to do it, or if I'd even find it fulfilling. Even scarier is trying to keep up with tech while teaching.

Maybe make some kind of web app? I have no idea what that would be. Better forum software? A better dating site? (not even sure how to make it better. My sole idea is to try to brainstorm a way to get rid of the aholes and still manage to get people to sign up.

A mobile app? Like what?

Just go back to work? That feels safe but dumb given the opportunity now to do my own thing.

Something else entirely? No ideas there.

But that's just it, where do I settle? SF? LA? NYC? Tokyo? Singapore?

And −−−how−−− do I find motivation? I don't feel like traveling has helped that at all, except maybe to make me realize I'd rather be somewhere more permanent and doing something productive rather than just sightseeing. Maybe I should go to a bunch of tech conferences, hack−a−thons, or game jams? The #1 thing that dissuades me from doing that is just how big a sausage fest each one of those is. It's depressing for some reason. It feels like choosing to be alone and nerdy by choosing to do stuff where there are generally only men. I know that's irrational ... or is it?

Another which I also mentioned before is I'm just not as big a gamer anymore. A play maybe 4−5 games a year to completion? I'm not addicted to Candy Crush Saga or Puzzles and Dragons, I never got into Pokemon, Everquest, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Counterstrike, Skyrim, or any fighting game. I haven't been able to get sucked into an RPG since the mid 90s. I appreciate new ideas like Portal, World of Goo, Braid, FTL, Anti−Chamber but I've rarely gotten into them. I've never played DOTA or League of Legends. In fact until a year ago I had never heard of it. I guess what I'm saying it's it's hard to work up the motivation to start an indie game studio if I'm not actually feeling it anymore. Maybe hanging around other gamers would bring back that love of games?

I also need social support, as in friends. If that's my goal I either have to pick Tokyo or else make a serious effort to make some new friends, something I've never done in my life. All of my friends up to this point have been naturally occuring for lack of a better way to say it.


Where's the Ramen?



Adult Story #4


To be honest, I don’t know if this is really an "Adult" story but whatever.


dating-before 2005-06-19


What can I tell you about me?  What will get you to write me?

I'm 36.  I'm from Los Angeles.  I look white but I'm actually a mix.  Hawaiian, Tahitian, Chinese, Portuguese, English, Irish and Dutch.  You can't see the Pacific Asian in me, I picked up my mom's genes and my sister got my dad's.  In fact when we were kids most people didn't think we were related.

An advantage to being Hawaiian though is that I got introduced to lots of interesting foods and so now as an adult I love trying new foods.

This last 18 months I've been studying Japanese fulltime in Tokyo, Japan.  My Japanese is pretty good.  I have mostly not spoken in English in the last 18 months.  That doesn't mean there isn't lots of room for improvement but I get by.

My current hobbies include updating this website, photography, visiting new restaurants and cafes, meeting friends, watching movies, listening and singing to music, trying my hand at graphic design, stuff like that.  You could add travel except that I don't like to travel alone but invite me and I'm there!

I collect stuff.  Let's see, watches I never wear (well lately) I have about 50. Books I never read (don't we all?) I have 3 or 4 bookshelves full. Movies I never watch (that's not true, I have watched most of them)  I have probably 300 total.  Stuffed animals I never see (well, that's because I'm in Japan and most of them are in storage in America but then I do have 4 or 5 new ones here in Japan).  I have around 70 including an 8 foot tall giraffe.  CDs I never listen too (well, more so in Japan than in the states.  I have around 800 but I only brought about 150 to Japan and I think I got most of my listening time in the car while driving, something I don't get to do in Japan)

I've lived quite a few places including Provo Utah, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Baltimore Maryland, Cockeysville Maryland, San Francisco California, Tokyo Japan and of course all over Los Angeles and Orange County California.  I don't plan ahead of time that I'm going to move but it just happens.  Situations change and I end up moving.

Up until this point in my life I've been a KICK ASS video game programmer. That means I'm creative, imaginative, smart, resourceful and kids love me 😉  Making video games is extremely hard work.  More so than most jobs I know of.

What am I looking for?  Of course all the normal things.  Smart, nice, fun to be with, easy going.  Some things I'm looking for that may be a little rarer are for example creativity.  I love women that do something creative whether is make crafts or videos or music or webpages or whatever.

Probably the most rare quality I'm looking for is someone with experience in at least one of the following.  Web design, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Director, 3D Graphics/Effects, Programming, Graphic design.  Why?  Well, because those are parts of my life and they will from time to time come up in conversation and there's nothing worse than having your girlfriend role her eyes, shut off her brain, and make some snide remark about "oh no, not that topic".  It's not so much that you have to have experience with one of those things but if those topics come up and you are going to give me a look of "yuck" then your are not for me.  I want to be with someone who approves of  me and that includes liking what I do and not looking at it as "mad scientist stuff".

Other than that I'm pretty easy going.😃

If you want to see more pictures or other info about me, try the older links below for older versions of this page.

Write me here.

   before 2002-01-19
   before 2001-08-10
   before 2000-08-20
   before 2000-06-06
   before 1999-10-22
   before 1999-04-06
before 1999-03-16