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Being misinterpreted and misunderstood Dec. 22nd, 2013 @ 10:14 am
I didn't realize it had been almost 2 years since I posted in my LiveJournal..

In the last few jobs I've had, I've noticed that miscommunication is fairly common. No matter how clearly people try to communicate with each other, for whatever reason there are often times when peoples' messages are misinterpreted or misunderstood. Sometimes it happens more often with just a few people. Sometimes people read too much into what is said. I'm continually surprised (even amazed) at how even a simple, short idea can be misinterpreted into something very different than what was intended, or even not understood at all. Everyone seems to have a different thought process and different experiences that make them interpret messages a different way.

What bothers me the most is how people react to miscommunications sometimes. Sometimes people react very negatively, rather than realizing that perhaps there was a simple misunderstanding (i.e., "But you said...!!!").

Another thing that can be frustrating at work is when you have a question for someone and ask via email, and their answer is totally not relevant to your question, or they only answer one of your questions, as if they didn't even see your other questions.

I've worked with people who almost always misinterpret what I say to mean the opposite of what I intended, or something completely different. I've also worked with people who often don't seem to remember what I'm talking about when I bring up something that happened before. It can be frustrating sometimes. So I'm curious about ways to best communicate with people to help ensure that the message is understood correctly.
Current Mood: pensivepensive

Sony customer service - Could be better Feb. 4th, 2012 @ 11:06 am
This morning, I brought my Sony Vaio laptop to my local Sony Store with the intent to drop it off to have a couple issues with it fixed. Before leaving home, I checked their web site to see what time the store opened and got there shortly after the store opened. However, I was told that they could not help me yet because their tech guy didn't get in until an hour and a half later. I really feel that the customer service could be better than that. Such specialty electronics stores, owned & operated by a company to sell its merchandise, exist (or at least should exist) solely to sell its products and provide customer service to diagnose & repair issues with their products. The store should be staffed during all operating hours by people who can help. But in Sony's case, even though the store was open, they had to turn me away at that time because they were not fully staffed with people who could help. This, in my mind, is a customer service failure. It is an inconvenience, and I think it's actually a bit rude to the customer to let them come to the store at a certain time (because that's when the store opens) only to tell them "We can't help you right now." So some of my time was wasted, and as a customer, that can be frustrating. My time is valuable to me.

It got me thinking that if I had an Apple laptop, I'm sure I could go into the Apple store any time they're open and always get help from someone to get computer issues fixed. If Apple can do it, why can't Sony?

Writer's Block: First Amendment Jan. 18th, 2012 @ 07:44 pm
Freedom of speech is what allows people to share thoughts and information freely without fear.  It's about the free flow of information, allowing people to share information and get information from others easily, without worrying about being banned from sharing thoughts  and without being prevented from learning information, which may be critical in some situations.  Free flow of information and ideas, through freedom of speech, is essential for a society to be productive and happy.

Lack of turn signals Jan. 17th, 2012 @ 07:29 pm
Lately while driving, I've noticed more and more people not using their turn signals when they turn. This is something I don't quite understand, and I'll admit, is a bit of a pet peeve - one thing that can be frustrating while driving is someone making a move unexpectedly. Especially when I'm right behind someone, it's irritating when someone makes a turn without signaling or starts to slow down for no apparent reason, to then make a turn. Even in a turn-only lane, I see many people who don't have their turn signal on, which looks rather odd - do they plan to continue driving straight even though the lane turns?

A couple times recently, I've driven behind someone for several miles and through several turns, to see them never use their turn signal. I have to wonder, then, that not using turn signals is a conscious decision. At some point, did these people decide to never use their turn signal again? I'm really curious to know. Do they think they're so special that they don't need to let others know they're turning? Do they realize how much frustration it causes other drivers? At least as a common courtesy and a sign of respect, drivers should always use their turn signals.

Scientology: One of the big scams of our time Dec. 19th, 2011 @ 09:27 pm
I got to thinking about this again tonight, and I feel too strongly about it not to post something - so here goes..

For about 15 years, I have known people who have joined Scientology and who are still members and/or have decided to leave after many years. So I have had years of personal observations of Scientology.

If someone had asked me how I'd describe Scientology, this is how I would describe it:
Although Scientology masquerades to the US government as a religion to be exempt from taxes, in reality, Scientology is an organization that sells self-help books and their own brand of spiritual-based psychotherapy to help people with their problems in life. In addition, Scientology is more than that: Scientology is a pyramid scheme that charges their members fees and strongly encourages them to stay and climb the ranks or else face severe consequences.

If the members don't pay, the "church" turns their back on them and does not provide any help whatsoever. I have seen one personal example of this myself. I have also seen instances where, in the face of legal disputes, the church of Scientology has encouraged its members to resolve the issues within the church rather than follow the path of the law and resolve the issue in court. I have also heard stories in the news of Scientology members who have decided to renounce their membership and leave the church, only to be followed and hunted down by church members and treated badly in an attempt to prevent them from leaving the church. What's more, the church's leader, David Miscavige, has a reputation for being a sadist, with a very nasty temper and a tendency for violent outbursts against those who oppose him. For example, this page discusses Scientology members who have come forward with reports of mental abuse by David Miscavige, including punishing members by forcing them to live in tents for days, bathe with a garden hose, and use an open latrine.

From what I have observed, the "church" of Scientology does not discuss God like a traditional church. In fact, if they have any god, they seem to idolize Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard - who happened to be a science-fiction writer before he founded Scientology, authoring such books as Battlefield Earth. And his science-fiction background shows in his doctrine behind Scientology: I've read that only when someone gains a certain level in Scientology, they are told more of the Scientology doctrine that includes a story that says the reason why psychological problems exist is that thousands of years ago, a galactic leader named Xenu imprisoned thousands of criminal souls by locking them up in Earth's volcanoes, and these souls now attempt to co-inhabit the bodies of modern people, resulting in a multitude of problems such as fear, lack of confidence, headaches, etc.. Furthermore, according to the story, Xenu transported these souls to Earth in craft that happened to look almost exactly like Douglas DC-8 jets. In my opinion, it's not hard to see this story as a farce.

Based on all of this information, I have concluded that Scientology is an unethical and abusive organization that takes advantage of people. I especially think one of the biggest abuses of Scientology is that it masquerades as a religion for tax advantages when it is not a religion - something which I'd think would be considered tax evasion and fraud, and thus illegal. Scientology is a dangerous organization, and I believe an end should be put to it before it continues to grow.
Other entries
» Brazil travel
On January 4, I got back from my second visit to Brazil. I went in October to visit my girlfriend in person for the first time, and again this past December to spend Christmas and New Years with her. I enjoyed the visits, and it was great to spend time with my girlfriend as well, and also to meet some of her friends and family. I felt welcome when I was there; the people I met there were very friendly.

One thing that I've felt about Brazil is how warm and hospitable the people are. When women greet each other, as well as women & men, it's common to greet with a hug and a light kiss on the cheek. On the other end of the spectrum, I had been told that it's important to be really careful with yourself and your possessions when walking outside, that you should be careful with what's in your pockets, try not to show your wallet in public, etc., because there are many people who might try to steal from you.

I stayed in São Paulo while there. It's a huge city.. What I like about São Paulo is that there are so many conveniences there. São Paulo also has a good bus & subway system, although my gf says it needs to grow because the population is growing.

While in Brazil in October, my gf and I visited Rio De Janeiro and Campos do Jordão. In Rio De Janeiro, we visited Sugarloaf Mountain, the Corcovado (with the Christ statue), and Copocabana Beach. The views from the Sugarloaf and Corcovado are awesome (I think the views from the Corcovado are better). Near Copocabana Beach, we also went to a military fort and ate at a nice restaurant there. It was nice to walk along the beach there too. The weather in Rio was relatively cool at the time - My gf said it was the first time she had felt cold there.

I really enjoyed visiting Campos do Jordão - I thought it was charming, with interesting places to visit and see. The city looks European, since the original settlers there were mostly German and Italian. When we were there, we met a taxi driver who also gives tours, and he gave us a tour around the city one day when we were there.

During my most recent trip there, my gf and I visited Curitiba. While there, a couple of my favorite places we saw were the botanical garden, the wire opera house, and the Open University of the Environment. I've heard that Curitiba has been rated the best city in Brazil to live in. I thought it definitely seems like a nice city, but I think other cities in Brazil would be nice to live in too. I thought Campos do Jordão has a nice charm, and São Paulo has so many conveniences that I think it would be a good place to live too.

Also during my most recent trip there, I spent Christmas and New Years there. Some people from my gf's church own a farm, and they usually spend Christmas & New Years there. They invited me to come along, since I was there this time, and my gf and I spent Christmas there. They are all really nice people, and the stay there was casual and relaxing, basically just hanging out and spending time with each other, chatting, playing board games, etc.. Christmas was celebrated on Christmas eve - They made a nice dinner and talked about Jesus before eating; afterward, we did a gift exchange where each person draws a random name for a person to buy a gift for; during their Christmas celebration, they get together and each person stands up to give clues about the person they bought a gift for. When people correctly guess their person, they hand the gift to that person. I thought it was fun, and it was a good way to celebrate Christmas. Overall, the stay at the farm was very casual and relaxing, and I really enjoyed the time.

I spent New Years in São Paulo with my gf, and I really enjoyed it. We went to the store and cooked a nice dinner with chicken cordon bleu, pasta, and wine; we later watched a fireworks show outside. It was a nice evening, and nice to just spend the time together.

My gf is very special to me, and even when we were just friends, she has always been a great friend. I am hoping that the future holds good things for us, and I want to work to be together.

I've also heard that Brazil's economy is doing well now and is on the rise, and that there is high demand for IT and software developer jobs. I have given some thought to looking for work there, and have actually applied to a few jobs there with a couple companies such as IBM, HP, and Phillips. I think it would be great to get a job in São Paulo and to be near my gf there.
» Job
It has been a while since I updated my journal here.. One piece of news I have is that I was laid off in September. I moved back up to the Portland, OR area and am looking for a job there. Hopefully I will find something soon.
» Life, feeling down, Twitter, etc.
Lately I've been wondering where my life is going.. I've been feeling down about some stuff. I hope things get better.

One thing is that lately, I often feel lonely and down. I don't know anyone outside of work where I am right now. I'm away from my friends and family back home. I don't often visit people during workday evenings, but it would at least be nice to live near my family and friends. And when I get home after work and am unable to talk to family or good friends, I've often been feeling lonely and down.

I've been thinking about using Twitter to keep up with certain things, such as World Cup soccer, news, etc.. There are software programs you can use to keep up with peoples' Twitter posts - But then I wondered if I could get too used to using one of those programs - if I stop or can't use it due to loss of internet access or something, I wonder if I would feel some sort of emptiness. Already, I use the internet so much for communicating with people and passing time that when I don't have internet access, I feel extremely bored and anxious..
» Love
I've been caught by surprise recently. I wonder why it is that someone I've met who I care about and feel like I could have a future with has to live so far away.
» Worrisome place?
Tonight when I went to an AM/PM to buy some gas for my car, I noticed a few interesting things there:
- One of the products they sell in their store is a high-caffeine coffee
- Another one of the products they sell is hangover prevention medication
- They require you to pay for gas in advance. I hadn't encountered this before and asked why. I was told that it was because they had problems with people driving off without paying for their gas.

Since I live in a college town, I imagine that there are many young college students who like the high-caffeine coffee and hangover medication (perhaps a sign of many noisy, partying students). The thing about the gas made me worry that the crime rate here could be higher than average. I live in an apartment complex almost right across the street from that gas station. I left feeling a little bit unsettled.

The only reason I noticed the first 2 things is that AM/PM requires you to pay for gas inside the store (that's one thing I don't particularly like about AM/PM).
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