Opinion: Otto’s Decision

Upon hearing of Otto Warmbier’s passing, I immediately blamed Barack Obama. My opinion remains, however, I want to offer another perspective that may not be so popular.

In January 2016, Warmbier was detained at Pyongyang Intl. Airport and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel in North Korea. Obama failed to get this American home during his last year in office.

Being from Southern California, it is known that traveling south of the border is risky for Americans. The Mexican Federales are known to hassle tourists, pulling them over for bogus infractions and shaking them down in order to avoid a ticket or being arrested. Before we needed passports to enter Tijuana, I’d walk across the border and come back with no problems. I understand that driving into Mexico would pose a personal or financial risk, so I have decided to never do it.

Back to Otto. One would think Warmbier would have learned about North Korea through his parents, school, media or at the least through Hollywood films like Team America, Olympus Has Fallen, or The Interview just to name a few.

Although he was just 21 when taken into custody by the North Korean regime, he should have been aware of the risk associated with Westerners traveling to a region ran by a murderous dictator. The actions of the North Korean regime were extreme, considering the alleged offense. Otto Warmbier should have known better. Like others who have successfully traveled in and out of North Korea, the University of Virginia student made the decision on his own to enter the regime and ultimately paid the price for the “adventure.” Americans and global citizens alike have no business risking their lives or contributing to the North Korean economy. Young Pioneers Tours, based in China, is also to blame for marketing North Korea to Warmbier and other Westerners.

Going to North Korea is not an adventure. It is a risk, not matter how you cut it. If you want adventure, go skydiving, or travel to a country that is not run by a volatile leader who uses violence and murder to discipline his own family, leadership, and Americans.

My thoughts and prayers are with Warmbier’s family and friends. My prayers are also with our government as they weigh the political consequences of an American’s death at the hands of this violent, unpredictable regime.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_North_Korea

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I Sit Down to Pee

And I’m completely fine with it.

Being a dad of two small girls, in an apartment with one bathroom, I have discovered that it is more convenient and comfortable to pee sitting down for a couple of reasons.

First, since we have one bathroom. It cannot be locked in case the 3-year old needs to go “potty.” She has a tendency to barge in when she has to go, which startles me mid-stream, causing me to momentarily miss my target and block myself from her waist-level line of vision. Sitting down avoids messes and toddler inquisition.

Additionally, our 1-year old sleeps somewhat lightly. A firm pee steam from the standing position is just too loud for our humble abode. Sitting down greatly reduces the piss acoustics. My pees will never wake up the baby again, which the wife greatly appreciates.

Lastly, sitting down to pee is just straight up relaxing. When I’m at work, or other public settings away from my house, I do the traditional stand-thing to relieve myself unless I’ve got one, or both, of the little ones with me. At first, I was a little annoyed with the idea of sitting down to piss, but now, I’ve embraced it and it seems to be boding well with the family – that’s what matters to me.

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/photos/man%20toilet/

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Opinion: Dollar Shave Club

I have been a loyal customer of Dollar Shave Club (DSC) for over 2 years now. The hassle of remembering to purchase overpriced retail razors is definitely not missed. DSC ships me four refill cartridges every month. If I don’t go through all four, I can have them shipped every-other-month.

Since I shave both my head and my face, I decided to go with The Executive. With this package, the cartridges come with six very sharp and durable blades and a trimmer/edging blade. The Executive aluminum handle is nice and weighty with a rubber grip.

Overall, the quality of the products and service is top-notch. I’m saving a ton of money by not having to purchase expensive, lesser-quality cartridges at the store. It’s great knowing that razors will be delivered to on a regular basis. The DSC website has a customer login option to manage all aspects of your account, including delivery cadence.

I definitely recommend The Executive offering from DSC, especially if you shave your head! Heck, my wife even uses them! No more Mach 3’s or Fusion series razors for this household.

DSC Good, Better, Best Options

  • The Executive (6 blades + Edger) –  $9 mo. / Free Shipping
  • 4X (4 blades) –  $6 mo. / Free Shipping
  • Humble Twin (2 blades)  – $1 mo. / $2 Shipping

Join here and I get $5 through their refer-a-friend program available to all DSC subscribers.

Image Source: https://www.dollarshaveclub.com

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Done! 

Last weekend, I graduated with honors, from the University of Phoenix. For the last +2 years, I attended the School of Business at the Southern California campus and earned a BS in Business and Marketing. This was by far the hardest, most grueling task I had ever started. No one forced me back school; I just needed to finish what I had started nearly 10 years earlier.

During the majority of my time participating in adult education, I had was working at a leading edge, consumer electronics company. Travel was mild, goals seemed unattainable and expectations always high. In the ever-so-competitive consumer electronics space, you are “on-call” 24/7 if you are involved with product management and sales, as I was. In my final months at school, I left the CE industry and joined the executive team of a startup fishing products company with exponential upside, managing sales, marketing, PR, operations and product management. How I managed to be diligent with work, homework and my family (kinda) was a miracle.

I say kinda with regards to my family because they didn’t always have me at my best. In the mornings I would be short, grumpy, zombie-like. Most nights, I would fall asleep at my desk, or while studying on the couch. My body would be sore and my eyes would be bloodshot and dry. Nonetheless, my wife and kids accepted me and greeted me with smiles and hugs every day before leaving for work.

My wife was a rock. She supported me during and after the pregnancy of our second daughter, Liv, who is now 14-months. She didn’t even mind me writing a paper while she was in the early stages of labor in her hospital room! When I began school, we had a 9-month old, Grace. I couldn’t have stayed the course without my wife’s encouragement and constant love.

To Gracie and Livy: You can do anything! It is NEVER too late to get an education or to learn new skills. What daddy did was very hard (and expensive). If you do decide to go to college after high school, do it. Don’t wait if you can help it. It is way easier to get an education before you choose a career path and begin a family. However, everyone’s paths are different. You don’t have to follow the “norm”, but you do need to follow your passion and give it 100%, 100% of the time. We love you both no matter where your education takes you. We will support you with guidance, support, and most especially love, always love.

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Appointment is Set…Finally!

Three years ago I began the toughest journey of my life. My wife and I were first-time parents of a 9-month-old Gracie Noelle when I began my first class at the University of Phoenix. I wanted to finish up my degree to be an example to my daughter (now daughters plural) that is always important to finish something you start, no matter how long it takes you. Additionally, I wanted my kids to know that it is NEVER too later to go to school. But, I also want them to know that it is a lot easier to finish up when you are younger and don’t have a family to support.

So, about this appointment… On May 10, I will be taking my last college test; three days later I walk as a college graduate. I am on the goal line and am about to conclude my final “drive” of my adult education career. Masters? Heck no! I’m perfectly content with a bachelors in business/marketing. I’ve been fortunate to work for some pretty amazing companies without a paper “validating” my intelligence.

I’m glad this chapter of my life is about to close. It could not have been possible without the patience and understanding of my wife. She made sure I went to all of my classes and did my homework while she watched Grace and while being pregnant with Livy. She should get a degree for being a kick-butt wife, mom and study partner.

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A Dad’s Take on Current Events

img_3193Gracie 3 and Olivia 1 are growing up in such an interesting word. As a dad, I want to keep and protect them forever. I want to equip them with the knowledge and tools they will need to live in this volatile environment. I can’t imagine what the world will be like for them when they are old enough to drive (or fly). They will need to be strong mentally, physically and spiritually. My hope and prayers are that they grow up to be accepting, kind and humble, yet bold and driven.

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REUTERS, 2017

As I type this, the world is at the brink of what could be a nuclear war. Our country is in the midst of a civil war between Democrats and Republicans, the left vs the right and the resistance vs “Trumpsters.” Those which once preached acceptance, openness and being different is okay are misguiding our youth about how to deal with defeat, change or opposition. Double-standards are the norm for any political party or “movement.”

At the rate we are going, one thing is for sure. We cannot and should not put our faith in one man or woman, the government, or your highly educated neighborhood shrink. At some point, in some way, they will fail us. In most cases, they already have. For me, there is one answer. Take one day at a time, keep my eyes looking above, my heart with my family, and my feet on the path of righteousness.  If we all stepped back, threw out our “agendas” and focused on the things that really matter in life, we might then begin to see the change we need to unite our country first, then the world. How can we bring peace to the world when there is so much turmoil within our own borders? United we stand, dis-unity we crumble and are weak.

As individuals and as a civilization, our days are numbered. Who knows how much time we as a global community have left? The passage below speaks of the signs of the end of days. This should not be interpreted as scary but as a reality of what is at hand and what may come in the near future if it hasn’t already. These are interesting times. Be vigilant and have faith.

Matthew 24:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places.

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