The Rob FAQ
Everything you wanted to know about Rob but knew better than to ask.
Interview conducted on Rob Zazueta by Rob Zazueta. Just the kind of weird, introspective monologue that always seems to be going on inside his brain.
- What is your full name?
- Robert Dean Zazueta, AKA Bob, Rob, Bobby, Robby, Zaz, Big Guy, Hey You, Yeah You, The Freaky-Lookin' Guy.
- When were you born and where?
- I was born on a balmy February 17 in 1975 in a hospital in Bellflower, California... wherever the hell that is. To be honest, I don't actually believe the place exists because no one seems to have ever heard of it. According to my father I was constructed from parts purchased during a blue-light special at K-Mart. I'm more apt to believe that explanation.
- Are you single?
- Depends... are you looking?
- Do you really think you're funny?
- Look, man, just give me a straight answer: single or no?
- Well, I'm proud to say the answer is no. I'm quite taken, in many ways, by a lovely young woman by the name of Danielle Tokarski. So taken, in fact, that after dating for more than two years and living together for almost a year, I have begun what I refer to as "the ring fund". Yes, folks, I'm looking to make an honest woman out of her. Donations will be gladly accepted.
- What is your favorite movie?
- I'm going to have to say "All the President's Men" on this one, considering I've seen it upwards of 30 or so times, but I'm also a big fan of "The Blues Brothers", "Sneakers", "The Hunt for Red October", "The Spanish Priosoner", the entire "Clerks" trilogy (I still say "Mallrats" was WAY underrated) and a few others. Frankly, I'm not a big movie buff. I tend to watch movies when I have nothing better to do.
- "All the President's Men," eh? So I guess this means you have an interest in journalism?
- Very good, Roscoe. My ideal job at this point would be one where I get paid to travel the world and write, whether it be hard news, travel feature stories or fiction.
- Do you have any previous Journalism Experience?
- Yes, I do. I spent two years at The Daily Californian. For three quarters of that time I was on the police and fire beat, covering any and all stories related to the Berkeley and UC Police Departments and the Berkeley Fire Department. I spent my second year there as the Assistant News Editor in charge of city news. I have well over 200 articles under my belt and received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists for Spot News Coverage. I am also a graduate of the Berkeley PD's Citizen-Police Academy, where I gained further knowledge of the inner workings of an operating police department. Some of my articles have been reprinted in UCLA's student newspaper, The Daily Bruin, and in U. Magazine, a nationwide publication distributed through college newspapers. I have also done some work for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Bay Area's largest daily newspaper. I'm obviously proud of my achievements. To see some of my work, go to http://www.dailycal.org and do a search on "Zazueta".
- OK, while we're on the topic, are there any other job skills you'd like to share with us?
- If you work on a professional web site for a living, why does your personal site look like crap?
- Hey, there's no need to be snotty here. I spend anywhere between seven and 20 hours every day sitting behind my computer at work. The last thing I want to do when I go home is switch on ANOTHER computer and spend ANOTHER several hours sitting there and typing. Besides, there's nothing so important about my life that I really need a web site dedicated to me. The only reason this whole thing exists is so that potential employers would have some idea of my skills. Now that I have a job, I'm less concerned about that. However, I've learned a great deal so you can look forward to some new sites from yours truly in the near future. Perhaps I'll finally get around to making the lit site I always wanted.
- OK, back to the interesting stuff... What is your favorite food?
- You call that interesting? Whatever... being half Mexican I find any and all foods from that culture extremely comforting. I became a vegetarian in 1997, however, and have restricted my meat intake to sushi, which is a major treat to me. I dig vegetables, most notably spinach (Popeye complex) and am trying to eat healthier. So, I really have no one favorite food, but I try to make just about everything I eat spicy and interesting.
- Oh, man, you're not one of those political, tree-hugging, "nothing with a face" freaks, are you, you freakin' hippy?
- Bite me, fascist. I did the vegetarian thing because meat started to make me sick. I got to eating it so rarely that my body stopped getting used to it. Now that I'm mostly meat-free, I rarely feel "logey" after a meal and have more energy than I've had in years. Plus, I've lost a fair amount of weight and don't spend as much as I used to on food. As for the tree-hugging part, well...
I love the outdoors and, when the weather is decent (I'm working on saving up for waterproof rain gear), I love to go hiking, especially in Humboldt County near Arcata. Some of my favorite spots include Patrick's Point and Prairie Creek in the Redwood Forest. Just take the 101 straight up past Willits and you will hit what I believe is the closest thing to Eden we can ever get near in this life.
- Eden, eh? So, are you a religious man?
- Well, I am an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church. (need someone to officiate your wedding? Drop me a line!) I was raised Episcopalian by my mother, embraced Catholicism when I hit 12 (I was baptized Catholic because of my father) but fell out of it in my sophomore year in college. I respect the beliefs of others, whatever they are, and stand firm that no one faith is the "true" faith. I have adopted the Zen Buddhist philosophy in my life and have begun exploring the Tantric Buddhist practices of the Dalai Lama and his sects, but I can't say I really subscribe to any particular faith, though, if pressed, I will probably acknowledge my Buddhist leanings as my primary faith.
Truth is, I'm a Robist -- I believe there is a higher power, but what it is I don't pretend to know. I believe there is some form of life after death, but I tend to see it more as the Buddhist idea of Nirvana rather than the Kingdom of Heaven. I believe in reincarnation to a certain extent, but only in the sense that the universe is so massive that our human brains can not possibly fathom everything they are faced with. I find quantum mechanics and some of the theories put forth by physicists studying this field absolutely fascinating, even if I only understand the rudimentary elements of it all.
Here is my take on existence: Time is an illusion created by our brains. We are unable to perceive everything at once and, therefore, we have these arbitrary things called "Time" and "Space" to help us sort things out. The world we see on a day to day basis is influenced entirely by our perception of it, and we have the ability to control this perception if we can find a way to get it through to the base of our minds that we want to see things a certain way. Psychologists refer to this base as the "subconscious mind".
There are various ways to affect change. Zen Buddhists believe that meditation is the best way -- to clear one's mind of all conscious thought and seek a direct connection to the inner self. It takes a hell of a lot of practice and may not happen within a single lifetime. There are some Zen practitioners who believe that a jolt of some kind -- like a slap on the back or a loud noise -- can quickly empty the mind of conscious thought. Think about it: you hear a gun shot and it's very close to you. Whatever you were thinking about is gone and the only thing you concentrate on is that loud gunshot -- no words or images in your mind, just the clarity of hearing a gun shot. The next thing that pops in there may be a word saying "uh-oh" or something similar, but if you can somehow maintain that sense of clarity, you may be able to get into contact with your inner self. After all, your heart races and your urge to run or freeze or whatever is entirely involuntary -- a reaction of your subconscious instincts that identify that as the appropriate action in such a case.
Another way to get in touch with the subconscious mind is through "affirmations". The brain tends to recognize patterns. The first time you hear a gun shot you may have no instinct as to what to do. When I was about two years old, I found my grandfather's handgun and fired off a round. I remember the incident clear as day. I had no idea what to do and immediately did the only thing I could think of -- cry. As time progressed and I learned what a gun was and what it was used for and how one should react after hearing a gun shot I became conditioned to freeze and quickly take stock of the situation when I heard a gun shot-like noise. Your brain learns from these things and they can quickly become instinct.
Affirmations are these things where you select a goal and repeat it over and over again every day. You can do as many Buddhists do and meditate on your goal or you can take a simpler route. Every day, when you wake up and right before you go to bed, write your goal 15 times on a sheet of paper. Write it as an affirmation, not as a wish. Example:RIGHT -- "I will lose 50 pounds." WRONG -- "I want to lose 50 pounds." The difference, of course, is in the verb. If you say you WILL do it, you will do it. If you say you WANT to do it, well, your subconscious already knows that. It will work even if you don't believe it. Just concentrate on your goal as you write it. It takes maybe 10 minutes total each day. Give it a shot! Don't put any time limits on when it will happen and don't choose something completely beyond your abilities (I.E. "I will sprout wings and fly."). Be as detailed as you want and keep at it. Be patient. It may take a while, but eventually your mind will begin to take notice and, whether you know it or not, you'll begin to change the patterns in your life to reach your goal. You have nothing to lose and the possibility of so much to gain.
- Quite the little sermon there. Would you classify yourself as a pessimist or an optimist?
- Well, in accordance with my personal beliefs, I guess I'm an optimist. I wear a little yin-yang symbol on my neck as a reminder to myself that, in all things, there is balance. I can wake up in the morning after missing the alarm and being late to work, get a message from my girlfriend that she thinks I'm a total prick and that she wants to break up with me, get a visit from some guys I owe money to and get laid off from my job and realize that, in the grand scheme of things, it isn't the end of the world. Things may be bad at that point, but they're bound to pick up in order to balance out my life. In the same respect, I may be on top of the world, have everything I want within my reach, be in love and rich and all the wonderful things that my heart desires but know that it is not forever. Enjoy the good times while you can because all glory is fleeting. The idea of a universal balance is extremely humbling and it helps me keep things in perspective.
- OK, this is getting really philosophical, but I need to ask -- do you believe in Karma?
- Every major faith believes in some form of universal retribution. In the Judeo-Christian world it's often known as "the golden rule" -- "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you." In Wicca the belief is that every act you commit will come back to you four-fold, whether your act is bad or good. Karma is the belief that our acts always come back to us and that, in this lifetime, we may be paying for the acts we committed in previous lives. I wholly believe in Karma for a number of reasons.
It's the idea that everything we do has a domino effect on everyone and everything around us. For instance, in major floods many people lose their homes. There are foten two groups of neighbors: the ones who help those in need and the ones who go about their business. Let's say three years down the line another flood hits and all of these neighbors lose their homes. Which of them are more likely to receive the aid of the previous victims? It's a very simple example, mind you, but one that works. If you perform good acts for others, the chances are good that people will perform good acts for you. If you lead a quiet, peaceful life, the chances are that others will respect that.
Karma boils down to the relationship between cause and effect. The future is undetermined, but one can make solid predictions if they use the concept of Karma as the basis. For instance, many friends ask me for my advice on things, as friends often do. On many occasions, I have been able to predict exactly how a situation will turn out and have been able to give specific advice on what to do to make a certain situation go a certain way. There's no real trick to it, one just needs to understand objectively how their acts affect others. If the friend asking for advice is someone I know well and whose personal nuances I have mastered, I'm more likely to know how they will react to certain things and can more accurately predict the outcome of just about any situation. Of course, I'm really bad at predictions regarding myself because, like most people, I'm not all that objective about myself. There are certain personality quirks I tend not to recognize because, on some level, I'd like to think they don't exist. But overcoming these lapses in attention is one of the goals of the practicing Buddhist. By becoming more self-aware and more aware of the interactions we have with others, we can better understand our place in the world.
- OK, you're freaking me out now. New topic: What are your interests BESIDES Buddhism, religion and quantum mechanics?
- I love to write. I'm a writing freak. I have about five short stories I'm polishing for publication, several more I have written solely for myself or have abandoned, two potential novels with two non-fiction, book-sized works I want to write, and several really bad poems I write specifically for myself. I'm willing to share just about all of this with the right people if asked, but balk at putting it on the Internet for copyright purposes. I am also a fairly avid hiker. I'm dying to get into serious backpacking but have yet to find someone I'd be comfortable hoofing it with across some backcountry trail. I love to travel and, when I have very little money but am dying for an escape, have been known to throw a bunch of stuff in a rucksack, hop in my beat-up Mercury Topaz and hit the road, often not fully knowing my destination until I get there. I'm a firm believer that getting there is only half the fun. I am totally in love with Humboldt County and the Redwood Forest and can often be found crashing on the floors of the various friends I have made up there. I've begun to pursue various artistic endeavors, such as drawing, sculpting and photography, to enhance my sense of aesthetics and am a yellow belt in Hapkido, which I studied for a semester in college and am currently looking for a way to continue my training. I'm not what you would call "athletic" by any stretch, but that doesn't keep me from trying. I love playing full-contact flag football and have been considering hooking up with a rugby team. At 6'3", 250 lbs., I'd make a hell of a scrummer.
- I notice you didn't mention music there. Do you like music?
- Of course, who doesn't? Music is very important in my life. I can often be found singing to myself -- whether in public or private -- and tend to attach certain meanings to some songs. Many special events in my life return to mind after hearing a song I somehow associate with them. I play really bad rhythm guitar and sing with lousy vocal control. I was a tenor in my high school madrigals group and local church choir when I lived in Orange County. For me, it doesn't really matter how much talent I have as I long as I enjoy doing it.
- Well, thank you for your time.
- No problem. And if you come up with any other questions, feel free to ask. You can e-mail them to me at DocRicketts@hotmail.com.
Interview of Rob Zazueta conducted by Rob Zazueta. He talks to himself a little bit more than should be considered sane, if you asked me. -- Rob Zazueta
Last updated 08/27/01