Wrong Turn

blog Apr 13, 2012

My old car was on its last legs, so last week we decided it was time to get a brand new car.

My thinking was that I wanted to completely run it into the ground before I got a new car. In Los Angeles, where cars represent status, I couldn’t get excited about getting a new van. After all, no one (who’s anyone) in LA would be caught dead in a van. My parents and I went to Brea (a suburb of LA) to look at some ever-so-exciting new vans and, to my surprise, the Toyota Sienna was quite luxurious. It had more bells and whistles than any car out there. Two DVD players, two sunroofs, navigation system, iPod integration, and Bluetooth.

Now we’re talking!

We decided to pick up the car on Monday.

For whatever reason, the navigation wasn’t working right, because the next thing I knew, my roommate Patrick and I ended up in Vegas. (Just joking that was the plan all along.) We both needed a two-day getaway and since Pat’s son David went to Catalina with his neighbor....

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A Speed Bump

blog Apr 05, 2012

I came home from the gym a couple of Fridays ago, ate some lunch, and went online. I had been excited because my fiancée’s visa was almost approved. I imagined her coming here soon. I went online and read the immigration page, only to learn that she had to have a valid passport for six months before she could even interview, which pushes her arrival until at least August or September.

It made me think about how excited I’ve been to see her. I miss her more now than ever. Since she can’t travel here as soon as I anticipated, I decided to take a trip to the Philippines to visit her and on the way back I’m going to Hawaii.

This is what I’ve always wanted. I feel blessed to be in a committed relationship. I love the little things such as Leslie being the last person I talk to before I fall asleep or getting her early morning text messages telling me to have a nice day.

If that’s not enough, I remind myself about how hard it was to get to this...

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The Long Run

blog Mar 29, 2012

Last week I debated whether I would rather be disabled for life or be disabled in an accident,or something like that.

I just read a book by Matt Long called The Long Run. Matt was a firefighter in New York and he had a terrible bike accident that left him disabled. He ultimately regained most of his body control and ran a marathon.

What struck me was the way he discussed everything he missed–including how he was perceived by women, how he missed going out for steak and beer, and most of all how he missed running.

He really missed running.

He described running as his lifeline. All he wanted to do was run a marathon.

It got me thinking a little bit more about what I wrote last week. When Matt talked about running, there was a hunger there that, in a weird way, I don’t understand. I mean, I have fantasies about not being disabled, but the memories he had of running were different than my fantasies of not being disabled. Needless to say, it is different and I’m a...

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Is it better to have loved and lost…?

blog Mar 23, 2012

Last Friday I had a hang nail on my left toe.

(TMI, I know, but there’s a point.)

My dad ripped it off and it started bleeding.

When I’m not in my wheelchair, I maneuver around my bedroom and living room on my knees. Unfortunately, this injured toe does not allow me to do so. In fact, on Sunday it took me ten minutes just to get to the bathroom. Needless to say, I can’t wait for my toe to get better.

The story is about more than my stupid owie. There’s a part of me that has no idea what it means NOT to be disabled. I can imagine and fantasize about not being disabled…and I do. I really don’t know what it’s like though. What I do know is what it’s like to crawl without a bum toe and I miss it.

I’ve been asked a few times whether I would rather have been disabled by accident later in life or be the way I am and disabled from birth. Every time I have an owie like the one I currently have on my toe, the question always comes up,...

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Steak and Success

blog Mar 15, 2012

To take a great piece of raw meat and turn it into a gourmet caliber, juicy, scrumptious steak requires an arduous, long process that involves seasonings, marination, cooking at the right temperature, a close eye, and proper timing.

Much like a raw piece of meat, raw talent needs also requires a more arduous process of seasoning, tenderizing, and many more things. There are so many people that have raw talent, but they never parlay it into success. Conventional wisdom says that a person has to be good at one thing and master it, but that’s not all that matters. To be elite means to take raw talent and turn it into something incredible.

I often question my own talent, my own path to success. I’m confident in my raw talent I have ideas about life. I have a strong work ethic and I have connections, but there has always been something missing: the ability to hustle, the ability to send a text, and the ability to get on the phone and have a free flowing conversation that is...

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Just a Little More Success

blog Mar 09, 2012

My life is pretty good right now.

On the other hand, there’s a part of me that wants more.

I’ve decided that I want to take my writing and speaking to a new level. It’s easy for me to say that I wrote an award-winning book, I write a blog post every week, and that I’ve been praised for my writing. However, the truth is, I want more. I have been talking to my manager Kristi about making my writing more fun. I want to be able to write in different tones. I also want to have more fun with my friends. I am getting ready for my fiancée Leslie to move in with me and I am constantly thinking of ways for us to have fun together and to always be romantic. I want to always make her laugh and feel comfortable in our home.

Arthur Ashe Jr. once said that success is a journey, not a destination. For anyone to rest on their laurels is a sure way to not achieve your potential. I read books, tweet quotes, keep my eye on CNBC, read articles, and interrogate my friends...

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It’s Not Just a Phone

blog Mar 01, 2012

About a month and a half ago, I noticed my phone started breaking apart at the hinge. I had an old-style Nextel with a regular keypad. I had been wanting a smartphone for a while, but assumed it would not work for me. I need the phone to be able to do a couple of things. First, I need to be able to dial the phone, and second, I need the phone to answer automatically in speaker mode on the second ring. Every so often I would look online for apps, but didn’t have the courage to make the leap. The truth is…I was scared of change. What if I got the phone and couldn’t use it? What if I dropped it? I have always been a technology geek. I have a twenty-seven inch iMac hooked up to a forty-inch television. In the living room I have an entertainment center with a sixty-inch television hooked up to a PlayStation and a four hundred disc player with surround sound. In my bedroom I have lights that I control by remote. I even have my audio/video guy on speed dial. I’m a...

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How Do People See Me?

blog Feb 23, 2012

When I’m out and about, I often wonder what people think when they see me. Do they feel sorry for me? Do they wonder what kind of life I have? Do they see me as one of them? Would they ever guess that I read books or that I’m engaged or that I have a big network?

A couple of stories.

About twelve years ago, I was furniture shopping with my parents and I couldn’t get my chair into the store. My parents told me to wait outside. As I was sitting there, a woman passing by pulled out a dollar bill and gave it to me.

My college roommate Sami and I were catching a movie a couple of years ago. Before we went in, a woman stopped me in the lobby and asked if I was there to see Alice in Wonderland. I couldn’t help but laugh, because she had no idea that Sami and I were good friends hanging out–talking about his time in Dubai, girls, and my book.

Usually I don’t care what people think of me or how they see me. There are times when I need to make an...

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Valentine’s Day 2012

blog Feb 14, 2012

For me, this week’s blog is very special because it’s a continuation of what I posted one year ago this week.

February 14, 2011 I have not given up on love yet. The fact is that I am more than positive that love is out there for everybody, including me, but finding it well, that’s a whole different story….

To be honest, I am very frustrated and scared right now but I’m also excited because I can’t wait. I have lived with that dichotomy every single day since I was 20. On one hand, I am scared. On the other hand, I can’t wait to go out and live life. Tonight I will spend Valentine’s Day with my roommate and best friend for 25 years watching the Lakers game and eating great food, wondering what I will be doing Valentine’s Day 2012.

There have been so many times in my life when finding a girl seemed like finding a needle in a haystack. In my post last Valentine’s Day, I expressed that frustration and also wondered what I...

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Taking Life for Granted, Part 2

blog Feb 09, 2012

Last week I talked about taking life for granted. In the past few months, I traveled a lot. I watch other people all the time. I think about their lives, I think about what issues they have, and mostly I think about what issues I have that they don’t.

On my way to the Philippines, the airline wanted to check my electric chair at the counter, something that’s never happened to me before. They provided me a manual wheelchair. They did not let me keep the chair once I got to the gate, so I was forced to sit there for an hour not being able to go to a restaurant or anything before my flight. Once in the Philippines, I did not get my request for a handicapped accessible room. In fact, there was only one hotel that had an adequate handicapped room on my entire trip to four different cities (three within the United States). There were many other issues I’m not going to get into because I don’t want to bum myself out.

I often wonder what it would be like to travel...

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