Author Archives: Phera

About Phera

INTJ Type A engineer living in SoCal.

Creators. Collaboration. Compromise. C^3?


I’m still musing about Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and her classification of people in two general categories of creators and second-handers. Since this a major theme of the book, I’m not going to explain it as a basic Google search will bring up all kinds discussions and I highly suggest reading the book but one of her quotes got me thinking about the how people are using the internet.

“The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary. The basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with men in order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists in order to serve others. He preaches altruism. ”
-Rand, Ayn (2004). The Fountainhead (pp. 665-666). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

A couple years back Time Magazine voted You the person of the year instead of an individual and here’s where Rand’s creators and second-handers start getting blurred in my mind. Are the creators the ones who created Twitter, Google, Facebook, Ebay, Etsy, blogs, and so many other software tools for linking people, information, and products or are the creators the ones who use those tools to accomplish their goals? An example of this would be what is now known as the Arab Spring. The makers of Twitter didn’t organize the revolts but individuals used the tool to spread the word about the location and times of the protests. Even then it wasn’t one person organizing the protests, it was a movement of multiple people across multiple countries. Who then is the creator and who’s the second-handers?

Rand’s main character was an individualist architect who refused to work with others because it compromised his vision and work. In today’s world, large visions usually are accomplished by large projects requiring collaboration between multiple disciplines because it’s just about impossible for one person to have the specialized knowledge across multiple fields to build something like an LEED platinum certified building on their own. Rand used the Cortland building project as an example of how wrong a project could go if second-handers tried to add their inputs to the artist’s original vision but how do you get anything done these days without collaboration and some compromise?

The reason I think my mind is churning so much over these matters is because I’m in the process of starting a home business. My ultimate goal being to work for myself instead of someone else as I’m tired of feeling like a second-hander so much of the time. People tell me I’m in my head too much and I should not over analyze but it’s part of who I am.

Anyways, enjoy this funny cats video as it always makes me smile:

I feel better! Finally…


Sheesh that was a doozy of a sickness. Turns out I had a sinus infection instead of just a common cold. I’ve been muddling through day to day living but today is the first day I don’t feel like a run-down doormat. I took off work for a total of 7.5 days which was not ideal but needed and during that time I did a lot of sleeping, reassessing, random internet searching, and reading. I have finished Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead which was certainly worth the read.  I’m still processing my reactions to her themes of egotism vs. altruism and I’m not clear yet on what aspects I agree with her on. However, I do think this the right book at the right time for me. There are definite large changes in the wind for me regarding my career and how I want to earn money as a creator instead of a second-hander. I don’t want to go into too many details in an open online blog but I’m excited and can’t wait to start. For just a hint of what the change entails, I’ll need to develop my skills in photography, Photoshop, Illustrator, 3-D modelling, descriptive writing, crafting skills, and networking.

Go…go…go…and crash

My dog’s version of sharing the bed.

For pretty much the whole month of October, my husband and I did not take a break. To name a few of the things we did we went to a wedding in the redwoods, skydiving in Vegas, Dia de los Muertos, and Warrior Dash along with working full time and my husband’s Second City improv show every Sunday. On Tuesday night my body finally rebelled and smacked me upside the head with a nasty sore throat, joint achiness, and a miserable headcold. Yesterday, I think I was actually awake and functioning a total of 6 hours or so.

There is nothing so awesome as a day of lazing after going and going. I lazed in my California king size bed with my dog on one side of me and my cat on the other. I’m sorry honey that you had to be at work at 6 am the last two days but don’t worry I thought of how much nicer it would be if you were snoozing next to me and it’s the thought that counts right? At some point I decided that I couldn’t stay in bed all day so I took the dog to the dog park and came back home only to crash on the couch for the rest of the day. I was worried that with so much sleeping and napping that I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep but apparently that was a silly thing to worry about because I fell right asleep after a chapter of The Fountainhead.

New challenges


So in the last couple of years I’ve done a few things that were scary/challenging/different than the normal routine. I graduated college with an engineering degree in December of 2007 which was a seriously epic saga. It took me years longer to accomplish that degree than the standard 4 years but through a lot of ups and downs I did it. Yes, I know that roughly 1/3 of the U.S. population has accomplished at least a bachelors degree but I still feel like this was huge hurdle.

Two years ago in Sept. my husband and I went to Australia for vacation and had an absolutely fantastic trip. We did the whirlwind tour of the eastern side of the continent. Sydney–>Melbourne–>Hobart–>Uluru–>Port Douglas–>Sydney. In preparation for this trip we learned how to SCUBA dive because we wanted to dive the Great Barrier Reef. I did not take to diving nearly as well as my husband but I did it and got my Open Water certification. I’m still psyching myself up for the Advanced Certification night dive but it’ll happen.

This October we jumped out of an airplane for my birthday and did the crazy obstacle course called the Warrior Dash.

Having the chance to experience all these adventures has been a bit hectic at times but they have thoroughly taught me that I can accomplish things that seriously intimidate/scare me. In that vein I have decided to take on the challenge of National Novel Writing Month. Wish me luck.

This is Halloween!


I love Halloween! Tonight my husband and I are going to LACMA’s Tim Burton exhibit. I have two boxes of Halloween costumes I’ve worn over the years so tonight I’m going to mix and match going for a dark bride look inspired by Lydia’s costume in Beetlejuice.

In years past I’ve dressed up as a dead doll, a succubus, Rogue from the X-men,  a Japanese ghost, Catwoman, a plague dancer, a gothic can-can dancer, and many other things. From the time my Dad made me cat ears out of electrical tape, wire, and a headband, I’ve always appreciated the home-made and pieced together costumes versus the store bought but it’s always a treat to see what people come up with.

Whatever your plans tonight be safe, have fun, and let your imaginations run wild.

Secret stairs and pretty flowers


Before I get distracted today by random links, emails and other internet goodies I’ll share a couple pics from my neighborhood dog walking adventures.

I live on the east side of L.A. in a neighborhood know as Silverlake/Los Feliz in between downtown and Griffith Park. The area has been around long enough to develop a unique character that most people don’t associate with typical L.A. strip malls, suburbia, and freeways. The landscape around my house is very hilly and reminds me of my favorite city, San Francisco. When the  neighborhood was originally built in the 1920s and 30s planners included public stairways as a safer more direct route for pedestrians to access public transportation, schools, and shopping areas instead of walking on the streets.  These public stairs still exist and are scattered around the hills but a lot of them aren’t obvious unless you’re looking for them. My husband and I have dubbed them secret stairs and have a lot of fun finding them while walking our  dog.

I’ve noticed that the higher you go up these hills the nicer the neighborhoods get. Combine nice neighborhoods and nearly year round sunshine and you get beautiful landscaping. The vivid blooming flowers draw my attention often while walking around.


In other news, I’m driving up to Santa Cruz tonight to participate in the Warrior Dash tomorrow. Hopefully all those weeks of p90X videos will pay off.

Apocolyptic Hell Beast


So my intention today was to write about how much I enjoy walking my dog in my neighborhood and post some of the  beautiful flowers I’ve taken pictures of on these walks but then I got distracted.

When I turned on my computer this morning Yahoo loaded up with a picture of a giant blue horse sculpture at the Denver airport called the Blue Mustang. Apparently a lot of people really hate this sculpture and there’s whole websites dedicated to trying to get it removed according to this New York Times article. The part of the article that made me giggle quietly in my cubicle is the following haiku dedicated to the sculpture:

Anxiously I fly
apocalyptic hell beast
fails to soothe my nerves.

I kinda like the giant apocalyptic hell beast.

While searching for images of the horse this one also came up and made me smile. I agree Mr. T-Rex, I agree.