Five Years of Service

I have been a Blizzard fan about as long as I can remember, I’m talking about Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Blackthorne, The Lost Vikings and Rock and Roll Racing! In 2010 I received an offer letter from Blizzard Entertainment.  I was elated, on Cloud 9 and I couldn’t wait to share the news with Diana. However, that opportunity fell through due to the difficulty of finding a match of her medical residency program in California. So I made the sacrifice and we stayed in New York for her to finish.

Years passed, two kids later, and another opportunity struck to for me to join the ranks of Blizzard! Diana had finished all of her training and we came together to California with her as a board certified OB-GYN. Everything was perfect and during my orientation of Blizzard they shared their stories of honoring their employees with a sword for 5 years of service and others for longer tenures. I pictured myself running around the campus halls wearing all the gear for every single meeting.

Life has an unusual way of putting choices in front of you no matter when and where you are though. As we moved to California, while we could live relatively comfortably, we found ourselves unable to afford a home. Out of the blue, Google had reached out and inquired on my availability . I spoke with Diana about it, told her that I was happy at Blizzard but would entertain Google in their interview process for a few reasons. One, I have immense respect for the company, culture and products. Two, I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of meeting Google’s rigorous engineering standards. Finally, I admit, I was curious to see what the offer was.

The day came when Google called me with the amazing news that I had been accepted to join their ranks. The offer came in strong enough to resolve the inability to purchase a house plus numerous benefits that would protect my children should anything happen to me and also an amazing paternal leave when our daughter comes to this world. This did mean that I’d once again sacrifice the opportunity to be part of the Blizzard team. There would be no sword, shield, ring, crown or hammer in my future.

However, Diana cleverly worked with the kids and honored me on Father’s day with a Doomhammer for 5 years of service for always putting our children first. There must have been some pollen in the air because my eyes became a bit watery. To my wife and wonderful children, thanks for giving me the best possible Father’s day gift ever.

2016 Taxes

So taxes hurt really bad this year(Big league! Bigly?). While we don’t mind paying our share of taxes and we want to contribute to our already great nation and state, the frustrating thing is that the general guidance offered by the W-4 becomes inaccurate as you become married and your income is over a certain threshold.

My main advice is if any of you out there land a new job, get that great promotion or finish school and commence your career in a well paying field, do the following. Find out how much you should really owe by getting an accountant, using an online tax estimator’s service or try slogging through the IRS’ 2017 withholding calculator(Free, but painful).

Observe how much taxes are actually coming out of your check, do the math to see if it’ll actually be what should be withheld. Then go back and update your W-4 form until it aligns to the correct amount.

In our 2016 story, I relied on the good ole W-4 form and filed “Single with one allowance” while Diana filed “Married with 3 allowances”. Now this form instructs you to mark one for yourself, so I believed I was personally filing only for me while Diana would be filing what should be the norm so that we would hopefully get a tiny bit back.

Unfortunately, I could not be more wrong. We’ve hit various triggers due to our income, where many deductions no longer apply due to this rule called the “Alternative minimum tax”. In the years before it marginally hit us, so little things could not be deducted. Now, we’re past some magic hump where we yield no benefits for having children and it’s almost not even worth documenting that they’re our dependents. So this year we were hit with a massive payment amount.

After meeting with our accountant, he calculated out our 2017 numbers and we’re now both filing “Single with zero allowances” and also withholding extra to hopefully not owe anything next year.

I hope that before this happens to others, that us sharing this experiences can prevent anyone else the shock, stress and pain from dealing with the egregious inaccuracies of the W-4. I also look forward to the IRS team members who fixes the formula behind the W-4, so that the process is simple and accurate.

Desk Shelf & Baby #3!

Does anyone know of a desk shelf that can be added to any desk and is tall enough to sit above 30 inch monitors? It doesn’t need to support a lot of weight, it just needs to be sturdy enough to hold pictures and a few tchotchkes. I’ve rendered an awesome mock-up, so hopefully it demonstrates what I’m looking for. I’ve done numerous web queries and haven’t found any matches, so if you know of a product that I can buy off the shelf right now, please send me the details!

As for how life is going, Diana is officially pregnant with baby number 3. I feel that I’m much more prepared this time around and I plan on being 5 better than when Dexter was born. One of my biggest regrets for Dexter, was only taking a week off of work and not focusing more on my family’s needs. At the time my partners suggested that I take more time off, but I was selfishly consumed by my love for what I do. Fortunately, I’m married an amazing woman, who picked up the slack and provided enough love and support during my ignorant absence.

This time, I’m prepared to take a bucket load of time off. I’m ready to wipe a ton drool, change a lot of diapers, sing a bunch of lullabies for the baby. I’m ready to perform a bunch of massages, prepare a bunch of meals(grab take out and put on plates), physically and emotionally support Diana as she recovers. I’m ready to take Ethan and Dexter to soccer, swim and other classes, build a bunch of Legos, sing along to a bunch of songs and make sure those boys know that they’re still incredibly loved even though another person is added to our family.


Before February ended, I wanted to make sure I committed to my one blog per month resolution.

As for family updates, my grand parents (Ethan and Dexter’s great grand parents) visited from Korea. Naturally we had to visit the happiest place on earth(Disneyland) and sure enough there were smiles all day. My grand parents are doing super well, but it does remind me that I should put forth the energy to learn Korean so that I could thank them for giving me the best mommy ever.

As for work life at Google, I can happily report that this company is truly incredible and well worth fighting so hard to get in. It has been tough going from a lead role to being focused on narrower scopes of work. However, I’m embracing the opportunity to enjoy how relaxing the work is. Code is generally very straight forward. It either works or it doesn’t and if it doesn’t you can go to the root cause of why. People on the other hand are very different. Sometimes we don’t even know in our own minds what the root causes of our actions are and thus it’s arguably more challenging to solve any issues that arise.

Recently I had a conversation with some team mates and it’s intriguing to me that no amount of perks makes everyone happy. Being on the other side of the fence trying to make people happy, I understand how difficult it is to raise morale, keep team members happy and excited about their roles. Sitting back on the receiving end, I am just soaking up how happy people are trying to make me. However, I see others who aren’t as excited about the off-sites, the free food, the massage chairs, the gym and other countless perks. Some people would just prefer more money or more time away. Even though Google already pays the top rates and offers great time-away packages, apparently it’s just not enough for some.

I often thought experience offered people answers of drive and motivation. Hearing many reasons of why peers still want more, I sometimes feel that if others experienced environments that weren’t as amazing then they’d be just as happy as I am. Only, I discover that others have had experiences similar to mine and are still not content as I am.

There appears to be no magical one-stop solution for motivating people and making them happy because we’re all so different. I hope that one day I do find a great strategy to make most people happy, but I’m a long ways from it. In the end, maybe I am the oddity, but I’m happy to be happy and I wish that for others.

Keep on keeping on!

Noogler!? Next episode?

2016 has been an incredible year with so many lessons learned, new parenting experiences, super fun events as well as career opportunities. I recently accepted a position at Google and am starting tomorrow! I hope I’m able to provide them some amazing value and create some amazing things!

I’m going to make my typical statement of needing to blog more often.  Sharing the amazing parenting stories, gangsta Irvine dad stories and hopefully general feel good moments that come across.

With that said, I’ll make a general recap of 2016 in Irvine. The kids have made amazing progress in the LePort Montessori school. Ethan is starting to read, Dexter is incredibly vocal and doing crazy indoor parkour tricks. Diana is the most amazing wife and mother, we had an amazing anniversary on Santa Catalina Island, which was seriously NC-17. My parents are doing well, being super awesome to the kids, Diana and myself. My dad is getting back into the Starcraft campaign and hopefully I’ll get in some cooperative games with him. We also met great friends that we hang out with non-stop(almost literally). Blizzard lived up to the dream. The culture, people and passion were just blasting out of the stratosphere!

I truly feel blessed and I still can’t believe how some opportunities are offered to me, I wish that others could be so lucky and I’m hoping that in 2017 I find more opportunities to give back or share some of these blessings.

I want to find my favorite book!

So before going to bed, the kids and I were doing our night time ritual. This consists of washing up, getting some milk, brushing our teeth then reading a book before finally sleeping.

As we’re get to their bedroom to read the night time story, Ethan feverishly goes through the bookshelf trying to find his favorite book. I’m a bit exhausted of “Dadding” for the evening and I try to quickly get the kids settled so I can get back down to the computer, so I ask Ethan “Why don’t you pick any of the other books that you can find?”

He was still insistent that we find his favorite book, so he keeps going through the books in other corners of the room while I get more and more impatient. I abruptly stop him and say that if he keeps taking this long that we’ll only read one book for the evening. That didn’t deter Ethan from his quest, so I ask him “What book are you trying to find?”

He replies “The I love you, Daddy book”.

“We MUST find our favorite book!” I shouted as my heart melted.

We still couldn’t find the book that evening and we still read two books that night. Time is flying by so fast and I am just soaking up how awesome this experience is.

@GMC my #YukonXL has a gas mpg identity crisis


First off, let me first admit that this is not the safest thing to do. You most definitely should not be taking pictures of your instrument cluster while driving. Please, do be safe on the road and consider your surroundings before making certain decisions. This photo was taken at 11:30 PM on a very long straight stretch of highway with no cars to be seen ahead or behind for miles.

With that said, yes I am boasting my gas economy. While most people aren’t impressed with averaging 24.9 miles per gallon over the course of 50 miles, It was done with this.


My GMC Yukon XL SLT is 7,000 lbs beast, powered by a 355hp 5.3L V8. This is the kind of gas economy I’d expect from a full sized, luxury sedan! Now it was also achieved by driving the vehicle without cruise control. As the night and miles progressed, I eventually got tired of gamifying my gas economy and cruise control definitely doesn’t yield the same efficiencies. When actually doing calculations from distance driven divided by amount of gas needed to fill up, I calculated roughly 21.53 mpg even with cruise control.

So with this story of gas consumption, we took our very first big road trip with the Yukon to visit some family. Because of the “late minute”ness of the trip, plane tickets would have cost about $750/ticket and we’d have to buy 3. Then we’d also still have to rent a car when we got to our destination. So instead, we packed a bunch of stuff into the Yukon and for the full round trip we were able travel for something around $250(minus depreciation).

While, the purchasing experience was mediocre, the vehicle is incredibly well engineered and exceeds all of my expectations. For all of the engineers, factory workers, designers and other hands involved in the production of the vehicle – Thanks!

The next chapter


We’re moving to California and I’m off to work for the company that ignited all of my passion in computer science! I’ve recently taken an offer to work for Blizzard Entertainment and hope to really immerse myself with the gaming industry and do amazing things there!

However, parting is indeed sweet sorrow. While it took me a while to fall in love with the city, it did eventually happen. I love the intensity of the individuals, the friends I’ve met, the energy of the city, the late night escapades, the meetups, the Halal Guys, Boba Fett playing the harmonica in the subway and uncountable other extraordinary experiences.

As amazing as New York has been, I imagine that with my wife and children, we’ll have many more incredible experiences in California!

Kids grow fast!

I just concluded my first full phone conversation with Ethan. It went a little like this

Phone ringing with Diana’s number
Me: Hello Love
Ethan: Hi Daddy
Me: Oh – Hi Ethan! What’s up?
Ethan: Mommy is sleeping
Me: Oh, I see, what are you doing? Did you brush your teeth?
Ethan: No, because the monster is in there and I’m scared
Me: Well Ethan, if you see that monster again you need to kick him square between the legs
Ethan: Ok
Me: Are you going to eat cereal after you brush?
Ethan: Yea
Me: Ok, well make sure Mommy makes you a big bowl
Ethan: Ok
Me: I love you
Ethan: I love you
Me: Bye
Ethan: Bye

It’s just one of those proud moments that I wanted to share

Gone with ye “Square table!”

So Ethan hurt himself really bad on Thursday on our dining room table that we’ve owned for about the last 5 years.

It’s one of those square wooden tables from Ikea and we’ve attached those little corner bumpers when he was younger, but as he grew, he learned how to rip them off tape and all. We stopped thinking about it as nothing serious occurred and all was well.

Well, all was not well. He was running in the kitchen with Grandma, turned and bumped his head forcefully into the table. Blood was everywhere and I was in a panic. I quickly put pressure on the wound and it was deep but maybe only a centimeter long.

Regardless, I called Diana and asked if I needed to take him to our Pediatrician or the Emergency room. Needless to say, I freaked Diana out and she ran all the way home(Manhattan living, so literally ran all the way home, in boots, in the cold, through the snow and potentially Yeti’s obstructing her path)

She got home, cleaned the wound, calmed me down and affixed bandages to close the wound. After that all was OK, but my lesson learned and suggestions to those who might have been in similar situations to us.

  1. Don’t use the corner bumpers, they are a waste of money
    1. Unless corner bumpers are affixed with the same bond that attached Excalibur to the stone and your child is not Arthur
    2. Unless corner bumpers have the same bond that puts Thor’s hammer to the ground and your child is not Thor, or Odin or other Norse deity that may wield the hammer).
    3. You have a black knight steadily guarding your corner bumpers preventing them from being displaced.
  2. Replace your table or any other furniture with sharp corners. It’s not worth the stress or fear of what will happen to your child otherwise.

We’ve already found a nice new oval-ish table to replace our wooden table.