Hump day.  This morning, while trying to snag time for a break to lunch with good folks, Jesse said something to the effect of

Hump days are generally good for people…you’re caught up from the weekend… but still have the rest of the week ahead of you.”

Sage advice.  Made it to the middle of the week and I’m so very very looking forward to the long weekend.  Last weekend seems so long ago already, and as I think back to it, it definitely had a theme:  Family.

We started Saturday with a birthday BBQ for Mama Wang.  The scrumpdiddlyumptious meal was prepared by her brother, local chinese chef extraordinaire Uncle 2.  Uncle 2 and Auntie 2 came to the US years ago, but like many immigrant families they had to leave behind a son in China, and are eagerly awaiting for the man to open the country’s front door for him.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to so severely be separated from your family without the ability to easily see them in person.  Thankfully though, we live in the fewchar, where cars fly, pills substitute for food, and we can see whoever we want via fancy moving pictures.  Almost.

Uncle 2 and Auntie 2 have a webcam, but haven’t been able to get it to work.  I took a stab at trying to get it going, and after navigating many many menus displayed only in chinese, I blindly pointed and clicked my way to success!

The picture doesn’t fully capture the erupting excitement, but I think it can succinctly be summed up in the words of Pop Wang:

“All this… IS FREE!”

After the BBQ, we headed to Bremerton to visit Mama Jocson.  About 2 years ago, I lost my dad suddenly, and around the anniversary of his passing the fam gets together to pray.  And I have a big fam.  This year had a little splash of extra special thrown in for good measure…

About 22 years ago, the last of my dad’s siblings moved to the US, and moved in with us.  He brought with him his wife and 3 kids, and they moved in with us into a tiny nondescript Bremerton rambler.  Legit right?  Only one problem.  He has 4 kids.

Like Uncle 2 and Auntie 2 above, they had to leave behind a son.  And a daughter in law.   And what eventually was 4 grandkids.  This past weekend, thanks to the great folks up north, we were finally able to reconvene this side of the fam.

we celebrate reunions with fire

my niece is beast on the guitar. put my ukelele playing to damn shame.

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It’s been one crazybusypacked weekend, but refreshingly, about half the crazybusy that packed this weekend was celebration-oriented.  Part of the reason for festivities, of course, is Mother’s Day here in the US.

This year though, I get to celebrate Mothers’ Day.  Yes, this year I have two mothers for this day.

name: mama wang; style: chángquán wushu kungfu; special move: closed fist overhead thunderburst thrifty skullsmack

This is Mama Wang.  The wifey and I only recently married last year, but Mama Wang never once failed to treat me like anything less than her own over the past few years since moment zero.  She doesn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Mandarin, but it doesn’t get in the way of her constant knowing smiles, the way she never lets a glass or plate go empty the way a mother wouldn’t, or the care with which she tries to anticipate wants (and address them before they become needs).

name: mama jocson; style: balisong-bolo-karambit arnis; special move: spinning thousand slice lightning discipline shank

Meet Mama Jocson.  I was born at a very very young age due to many many hours and this lady.  Officially her profession was registered nurse, but she’s a mom through and through.  She’s just the type that knows how to take care of others better than she does of herself.  Talk to most people about their childhood, and they’ll tell you about the countless hours they spent with their best friend, the adventures they have, and the fun they had playing for ever and ever.  Me? — The time I spent with my mom is rivaled only by the amount of hours I spent absorbing the TV’s warm radiation.  I couldn’t ask for a better mom (though I’ve been known to often and frequently ask for a better TV).

Curious for more fun facts about the moms?  Last year for our wedding reception, the wifey and I put together a video we shared with our guest to honor our parents.  Thanks to Al Gore and the power of the internets, I can now share things like that as easy as one could whip out photo albums years ago that relived their their special day.

I’m neurotic with badge notifications on my phones.  1 unread email?  Unacceptable.  But no, it’s not enough to mark it unread and be on with myself.  I have to earn that unmark — that means I have to actually read the message, digest it, internalize, file it accordingly, take any follow-up action necessary, etc.  Essentially, I have to get things done, and maybe that’s why having no notifications is a good day.  It means I’ve done everything I need to, email-wise, with nothing lingering and gnawing at the back of my mind, birthing nagging guilt for not taking care of everything I should.

This neurosis extends beyond email and across everything else that bears notifications — Words with Friends, SMS, Beejive/Chat clients — if there’s something that’s been put out into the universe for me, I must grab it.

I’ve lately been feeling super-super-soooper-busy.  So busy that I’ve taken to making lists to make some effort at taming the madness and calling things to order.  I’ve always been a To Do list guy at work, but have until now been able to keep tasks lists from extending beyond the daily grind.  Thank goodness for Wunderlist.

I just recently got hip to zee Wunderlist.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s essentially an electronic task manager.  You pound out your to do lists, and can check (click) them off as you complete.  What’s it got over paper?  Well, for starters, badge notifications!

here's the lil beast, running on my iPhone. yeah, 7 things left to do =/

There’s nothing like driving accountability and progress with a nagging incrementally increasing badge notification when you’re a crazy sucker like me.

Also, Wunderlist is cross-platform, and syncs via the almighty cloud.  That means I can be pounding along on my laptop, making power moves and getting things done, and everytime I think of something for me to address later I can pop open a browser window and jot it down.  Then later when I’m on the go I can pop open the app on my phone and have instant reminders of everything I promised myself I wouldn’t forget.  Likewise, I could be on the run when I run into a friend, who reminds me I own them an email with XYZ.  I can jot down a reminder on my phone, then when I get home and pull open my laptop, bam, there’s that reminder.

you can bucket tasks into different lists, for type-a favored organization. you can also send tasks to other users, so when the wifey's at work she can send a "change the oil" task to me if she knows i'm at home on the couch nom nom-ing on cookies

you can star important tasks, add due dates, swipe to delete, tap to check off, shake to bake bread

with the power of due dates you can see what you've planned for today, and what you've slacked on yesterday. i'm a little behind where i wanted to be with editing, but there's millions of completed tasks i've saved from red status, i promise

here's my wunderful wunderlist open in chrome on my laptop. same tasks, all sync'd with my mobile. the only excuse i have now is myself.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly suggest.  I have felt busier these past couple weeks, but thanks to Wunderlist I think I’ve been much more efficient and productive and that much less frantic and confused.

What’re your preferred GTD (Get things done) techniques?

I’ve been on va(stay)cation since last week, but it feels busier than ever; however, I do feel like I’ve überproductive.  That is, if productivity is measured in the amount of fun, satisfaction, and relief garnered via discovery, creativity, and completion of long-intended-to-have-been-addressed tasks.

More on what’s been keeping me busy (hopefully sooner rather than) later, but if you follow my twitter / Instagram / tumblr / Facebook feeds, you’ve by now been bombarded by random announcements, nonsensical commentary.  And even seemingly randomer photos.

For the curious with the desire for marginally more context, allow me to present the first installment of <drumroll> Facts Behind the Fotos <windows 3.1 boot sound>

  • Wheels Up – I spent most of the day tuning up my Honda Civic with the Executive Director of the ACAP.  Notable highlights:  Getting an armpit full of vintage 2009 5w20 motor oil and my new plug wires are blue (love me some color!)
  • Acura – Sticking with cars for a moment, the other day I spent a few hours at Acura of Lynnwood, stranded while getting my rotors looked at.  Is it just me, or do Acura rotors wear quickishly?
  • Baby Shower of Infinite Justice – Some friends are expecting, which naturally warrants celebration.  It’s a boy! — represented by the blue metallic teddy bear confetti.Yayers.
  • Surprise – The gift in the left hand is for the aforementioned baby shower, the balloons for a special surprise (and what’s in between is from excessive French pastries…).  The wifey is hosting a special giveaway on her blog featuring an original Cindi+Chris Photography piece.  Check it out for deets on how you, too, may already be a winner!
  • Pastries 1 and Pastries 2 – I wasn’t joking about those French pastries.  I’ve recently discovered (and then re-discovered.  and re-re-re discovered.  and re-re-re-re….) the joy that is The French Bakery.  In under a week I’ve visited 66.7% of their locations (multiple times), had enough pastries to fill a frequent customer punch card (and then some), feasted on a sandwich crafted by one of co-founders, and put on more weight that I should have.  The jocson you know and love now comes extra squishy with 115% more butter.
  • Seatown FunkJun lives in an area with an awesome view of Seattle.  We visited her the other day, and after finding parking around the way, I couldn’t resist climbing up a precarious safety railing and snapping a quick pic while cars whirled behind me.  I had a dizzying fear of falling to my doom, but powered through!

I’ll throw in a few (foto-less) tweets for good measure, just coz.

  • P!AtD – Panic! has a new album, Vices & Virtues, which I am really diggin’ right now.  So far I’ve edited approximately 500 photos (viewed around 2000), tuned 1 Civic, and assisted a friend with 2 resumes and 1 cover letter all with the album on repeat.  A few years ago I went to a Panic! show they did with Lucent Dossier, and it was one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever seen.  It was like some sort of punk burlesque circus freak show that totally fit their work.
  • Sonicsgate – If you’re a sports fan, you must see this film.  If you’re a Seattle-ite, you must see this film.  Heck, if you have a pulse, go check it out.  It highlights the chain of events leading to a Supersonics-less Seattle, brought to you by people like those folks you see in the stands at NBA games today still waving Sonics gear regardless of who’s playing.  True patriots.
  • Thinking about being productive – I made a plan at the start of this vacation that involved a home stretch run at success by means of being early-to-rise and late-to-bed (with ZOMGMASSIVEPRODUCTIVIEZ sammiched in between those two).  I started Day 1 of this home stretch making good on the early-to-rise part, but was slow in motivation to get to the massive productivity part….  I think I’ve made good on getting things done since then.  More on how I did that.. maybe tomorrow?  Stay tuned friends!