My Sister's Keeper

My daughter told me that this was her favorite book. So I read the book, My Sister’s Keeper (2004) and watched the movie by the same name (2009), which stars Cameron Díaz, Alec Baldwin, and Joan Cusack.

I’m not normally into fiction reading or chick flicks, but it’s for my daughter. Plus, I majored in philosophy. It reminded me of Judith Thomson’s thought experiment of The Unconscious Violinist.

The story (in the book) goes that a young girl, Anna, 13, sues her parents for medical emancipation, or the right to decide on matters of her own body. Her older sister, Kate, 16, was born with leukemia. Their parents initially conceived Anna for her umbilical cord, but later needed her granulocytes, lymphocytes, other bodily systems, and toward the end her kidney to keep Anna alive.


Judith Thomson’s thought experiment of the unconscious violinist asks, roughly: What would you do if all of a sudden you awoke to find yourself wired to a world-famous unconscious violinist who needed your body to continue living?

His life depends on yours. Upon attaching, his life now comes at your expense. If you assert that you should remain free to walk away (thereby killing him or simply allowing him to die), then you cannot consistently argue that there must also exist a right to life.


I’ve never really cared for the discussion (book vs. movie) much until now. I usually prefer the movie, because that means less reading.

Every time the discussion comes up, people usually say, “The book was better.” Why? My guess, two reasons.

First, investment. Reading requires a lot more mental investment than watching a movie. After spending 8 hours to read 400 pages, single-spaced, I feel plenty of temptation to weigh in favor those 8 hours over the 1.5 hours watching the movie – much like how people rationalize the benefits of an overpriced personal development seminar.

Second, character development vs. plot development. Movies represent short stories that, because of time, aim to focus more on plot development over character development. Books focus more on character development.

Why does this matter? Human connection. It takes more time to create trust and to emotionally connect than to play out a series of events. Books take the time. Books allow for a deeper emotional connection.

Not my usual reading. But worth it. How many other dads would read a 400-page girl story for one of their daughters?

I'm going to write about my job

I like writing. I don’t like my job; although, I’m still proud of it and want to model a good work ethic. It’s a struggle.

If I write about my job, then maybe I’ll find something to like about it. And maybe I’ll find something to like about it long enough to make it to retirement.

In 2001, before 9/11, I began active duty. I have about one year break in service, which means that I’ll retire in 2022 instead of 2021.


I find it challenging to develop a morning routine given my job. A military exists to win its nation’s wars or to defend it. It follows therefore that its members spend their time either fighting, training or supporting just that.

Since we can’t always foresee the next significant threat, a military must remain at a constant state of readiness to respond when needed. It can’t afford to periodize the way athletes do, peaking performance for a particular event or season. What does this mean for the day-to-day of a typical service member? Uncertainty.

Unpredictability. Not a lot of routine, despite what outsiders may believe. Even the word regimented means organized, controlled, routinized.

Chris Voss, former FBI hostage negotiator and author of Never Split the Difference (2016), said in an interview (or maybe in the book) that the families of the victims of kidnapping suffer post-traumatic stress to about the same degree as the kidnap victims. This happens because of the uncertainty, the relationship with time, and the unknown duration of the ordeal.

In military schools where attrition is the mission (like boot camp), the instructors typically use unknown distance or unknown duration as stressors, all while urging the students to give 100%.

I know that if given the task to sprint a quarter of a mile, I’ll do okay. But what if it’s unknown distance? The task might be 10 miles. Understandably, real-life combat will present us with same situation.

In military schools, we play this game, giving Academy Award-winning displays of effort. We call it sandbagging, or deliberately under-performing while pretending to give 100%.

But I’m getting off topic. I wanted to talk about the inherent uncertainty of working in the military, the degree of its significance, and how to develop a routine anyway all while serving as an active duty member.

Active duty just means that it’s my full-time job. Now, there is no typical day in the military. I believe the external factors that impact a service member’s job experience consist of his unit, his rank, and his job in the unit. I call these external because, given my experience, they usually stand outside of the member’s day-to-day sphere of control.

Duty location? Maybe the prettier the place, the better, but that wouldn’t matter if the member spends all his time at work, never able to enjoy the place.

In fact, it seems that the clearer the member makes it that he wants a certain something in the military, the more likely the military will give him the opposite of that.

So how does one create a routine in an unpredictable environment? If you can assign a time of day to a habit, do so; if not, then just make it a point to do that habit at sometime during the day, every day, in some way. And then, capture it somehow, in some physical way in the world. Write it down.

That’s why I’m writing. My goal, as of yesterday, is to write, read, and exercise in some way, every day. I’m using an app to keep me from breaking the chain.

Is anyone going to read this? Yes. Me. Me at a later date. I placed my family videos on YouTube not for the world (because I’m sure the world isn’t interested), but really just for my family at later dates.

I commissioned out of Officer Candidate School, Fort Benning, Georgia in 2011. Since arriving at my first Army unit in Fort Polk, Louisiana, I’ve filled a position for about six to nine months before watching my unit move me to another position.

Each time, I start from scratch, re-inventing wheels after the last guy, re-inventing more wheels for an incoming boss who shows up with the attitude that the people already there have been doing nothing with their lives but wait for said-boss to appear. A boss who, maybe because of the way I look, feels compelled to issue me advice I didn’t ask for, advice on how to live my life better than I would for myself.


When I was young, 1980s, I remember learning about a computer language called BASIC from a magazine for kids, Highlights. I copied sample scripts from the magazine into whatever program executed it, to make simple games and other applications.

Big surprise there. Of course I was into computers. What else do nerdy Asian male kids get into?

I never did learn how to program or code. So, instead, I’m using Upwork to work with developers. I closed my job post last night. Tonight, I’ll sift through applications. Next step is to interview.

I deployed to Iraq in 2004 with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (or, I MEF). One time, when picking up the mail for my unit, the Marine sergeant (E-5) behind the desk said as I was walking into the building, “Damn it! I need help with this. It’s a computer issue, Microsoft Excel… YOU!!! [Pointing at me.] You know how to fix my problem. Get back here and fix it.”

I was a corporal (E-4). I asked, “How do you know I can help?” I took a look. Turns out, he was right. I knew how to fix it. In school, yes, I was also good at math and I liked playing video games. I still do. I actually don’t mind when my kids ask me to join them in some new Roblox game.

I'm just going to write something

Anything. I started this blog a year ago, then, like countless other bloggers, quit soon after.

I found this app named Habits. It has room a feature to remind me daily at a specified time of a particular habit I’d like to adopt.

A couple months ago, I installed it into my phone. Then, because of my perfectionism (i.e., procrastination), I never ended up using it. I couldn’t decide on exactly what time to have it tell me do the things I want.

Now, instead of specifying a time, I simply entered three habits without a time, but with the intent to perform them daily: write, read, exercise.

I don’t feel like I have a lot of skills I may confidently say that I do well, but on writing, I feel like that’s my calling. It’s the one thing that I largely to get paid to do.

As of this writing, I still serve on active duty. I’m a U.S. Army staff officer, a captain (O-3E). I have about three years until I retire.

I don’t want any awards. I don’t want any special schools. I don’t want any particular duty station. I don’t want company command. I don’t even want to promote. I do my job. I help others do their job.

There’s nothing wrong with this job. It’s just not the ladder I want to climb anymore.

I’ve decided earlier this year not to wear my one combat patch or my air assault badge. The resume on my uniform represents a dick measuring contest I’m happy to lose.

Anyway, I aim to simply do my job and go home to do something more valuable to me. Do I have a side hustle? No, not this blog.

I’m a part-time non-technical app developer. I’m actually in the middle of my first app, which I call iBankify. Will it flop? Yeah, probably. I’ve labeled the Google Drive folder, where I keep all my app files, Sincerify.

It represents to me the solution to the insincerity with which I’ve grown accustomed to at my day job. I’m proud to serve, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that there’s a world of difference between having to work versus wanting to.

One-Page Accomplish Anything Plan

I call it, the OPAAP. Short for the One-Page Accomplish Anything Plan. I shamelessly borrowed the idea from a book with a similar title, by Allan Dib, The 1-Page Marketing Plan (2016).

Great book, by the way. Easy-read. Insightful. And as he says, although nothing new in content, a breakthrough in implementation.

Soon as I figure out how to post the Excel file to Wix (my current web host), I’ll present that here on the blog, in a future article. Feel free to copy the general idea. No need to get fancy. Pencil and paper will do just fine.

In my fitness e-book, chapters 2 and 4, I mention a chart one may create to record progress. The book needs an illustration. Something you as the reader may easily walk away with and implement immediately.

Above is that illustration. The bold-and-blue represents the minimum needed for the chart. I chose push-ups, sit-ups, and a 2-mile run, but you may easily replace that with whatever exercises you want. The green represents some nice-to-haves.

One can easily recreate this with just pencil and paper. I chose the above exercises given my current job. Those are our three Army Physical Fitness Test (PFT) events.

The scoring makes it fun. Like a video game. It doesn’t seem to take much nudging to get someone to play a game. Enjoy. Hope this helps.

Again, I’ll post the Excel file soon. The formulas that do the automatic calculating did get pretty advanced – embedded functions, IF, VLOOKUP, TIMEVALUE, TEXT… Yes, I promise to make it super easy for you. Soon.

Happy New Year,

Brian M. Delrosario

What does right look like?

Right looks like mission accomplishment.

This question aggravates me to no end… no end. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but when I hear it at work, it means, “What do the regulations say?”

Let me repeat the answer: Right looks like mission accomplishment. What else should it look like? If it causes more harm to follow the rules than to break them, what would a reasonable man choose?

I recently finished a staff exercise where we as the battalion staff team participated in a military decision-making process (MDMP) exercise. It lasted a week.

The picture of The Battle Staff SMARTbook above, I placed up there because it’s a picture of an older edition that’s probably just as good as its newer edition. My buddy, the battalion chaplain, held a copy of the book during the start of the MDMP exercise. The facilitator/instructor – an awesome man, by the way, and I mean that sincerely – put it down as outdated.

Now, I have a copy of that same version and I only use two sections of the book: the part about the format of an operations order (or just OPORD for short), and the part about operational terms and graphics (what all those funny military symbols mean). 80/20. It’s good enough.

Has the military’s mission changed much since the beginning of military history? When has it ever been something other than win wars or protect life?

Anyway, the MDMP process consists of seven steps, with the seventh step being to publish the order. Much of the time, when we MDMP, it’s for an event we already did. Why recreate the wheel? Many times we just copy the last order, the one from last year – change the dates, some names… still good.

However, somewhere along the line we exponentially blew up all these formalities, all this red tape, all these rules that hinder more than help us. A recent study by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute revealed that today’s company commander must somehow fit 20 months of training into a 12-month calendar.

An even more awesome study, by retired Army officers Leonard Wong and Stephen Gerras, asks, “Well, if it’s impossible, if the requirements exceed the capabilities, then what are we reporting?” I’m sure you can guess.

Back to the staff exercise. When it came to the part about comparing courses of action, we asked a Staff Sergeant (SSG) for his experience with a particular event. None of us Captains and Lieutenants at the table had any direct experience for this one event we were planning. Shocking.

The SSG asked about a term on a slide projected up on the wall. He asked, “What does competing requirements mean?” He didn’t mean, “What requirements have we identified as competing?”; no, he meant just what he asked.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Geez, what else does it mean?” I have a better question: Why would we impose competing/conflicting requirements on ourselves in the first place?

It’s most likely in the nature of a large bureaucracy to crank out non-user-friendliness. Right doesn’t look like the rules. The rules should serve us. Right looks like mission accomplishment. Remember the big picture, the end result.

I’m in the middle of writing a book, titled, Shamurai, a Comedy. Here’s the subtitle:

“The 17 For-Real Rules of Military Officership and Extreme Mediocrity for the Disgruntled Everyday Man Juggling Alcohol, Car Problems, Child Support, Divorce, Money Problems, Suicide, and Women.”

I’ll keep you updated. Comment below if you’d like to know more about the book. Thanks for reading.


Brian M. Delrosario

The platform or the product?

How to empower others – build the platform, the system, the infrastructure for others to succeed… Try being the catalyst, vs. the champion.

What Gutenberg is to the printing press, Henry Ford to the assembly line, Jeff Bezos is to new entrepreneurs. Samuel Brannan made his millions during the Gold Rush through… selling the shovels!

FBA, MWS, KDP… awesome platforms. Amazon, of course, takes its cut.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of, recently surpassed Bill Gates for the title of richest man in the world.

Have you thought about writing a book? I’ve been writing. I recommend everyone do so, in large part because of who you become in the process. Your story develops your state, which gives the context to your strategy.

If you have MS Word on your computer (or can easily get it), check out for a plug-in to download, for MS Word.

In minutes (right now), you can start typing your book, preview what it’ll look like on Amazon Kindle (or in print!), and publish it for sale to for people to either download or order a hard copy. Amazon will hit the print button for you.


Brian M. Delrosario

Do you expect those weights to lift themselves?

I got that subject line from Jocko Willink, U.S. Navy Seal, retired. I’d like to share a book, What Color Is Your Parachute?, by Richard N. Bolles.

As my girlfriend just said to me, even if they could lift themselves, that wouldn’t do much for your physical fitness. Although I admit, that’d be cool to watch.

Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey – they have only 24 hours in a day, just like you. Maybe you’re not a fan of these people. No worries. You still have only 24 hours in a day. How do you spend it? Let’s say…

  • 8 hrs · sleep

  • 9 hrs · work

  • 6 hrs · family

  • 1 hrs · personal – here’s your opportunity for growth

You’re tired? Well then don’t do it for yourself, but for those who depend on you. The real training begins when you’re tired. You can have excuses or results, but not both. As Jock Willink said, “Those weights ain’t gonna lift themselves.”

The book I want to share is by Richard N. Bolles. He has been revising his book every year for decades. I first read it five years ago. Despite its subtitle, it holds incredible utility for entrepreneurs, too.

There’s an exercise in the book on self-discovery, on writing out the answers to those big questions, like, “Who am I really?” I recommend writing that out, putting it on the wall, and revising it, which I do twice a year (January and July).

Be the author of your life. Don’t let anyone else hold the pen that writes your story.

As you begin to write, as you deliberately begin to give a more deliberate, physical form to your story, you become someone new in the process. And, as you publish it somewhere you see it, where it invites you to add more to it, you empower yourself to deliberately grow in the direction you want.

It’s worth it.


Brian M. Delrosario

Immune to pain?

Recommendation, for that commute today, 57 min 39 sec. David Goggins – U.S. Navy Seal, U.S. Army Ranger School graduate, and U.S. Air Force TACP (spec. ops.).

Grew up in an abusive household. One of only a few Black kids in a small Indiana town, about 20 min from a KKK headquarters. Bullied relentlessly throughout school, scraping by with a 1.6 GPA, he says, “I got called n— every day.”

Suffered obesity, severe allergies, a sickle cell trait, and a congenital heart disease that left him with a hole in his heart the size of a poker chip. Grew up feeling soft and weak and with no self-esteem…

If a story like this doesn’t make you want to look in the mirror and say, “[Self], I don’t want to hear your s— today,” well… play it again.


Brian M. Delrosario

Are you tired or do you just not want it?

I’ve spent the last year getting up at 0400 to read before work, even on weekends. Every book in these two pics (approx. 50), I’ve read or re-read in the past 13 months. What are they about? Economics, finance, accounting, psychology, marketing, entrepreneurship, leadership. You can make time.

If you click the picture, it’ll take you to the corner bookshelf on Amazon. As you can tell, I ran out of shelf space. I prefer physical books. With e-books, I print those out.

For me, it’s a 15-min commute (30 min round-trip) to work. I make that trip at least twice per workday. Instead of listening to music, try listening to something educational or motivational, at 1.5 or 2.0 playback speed. After just a year, that’s hundreds of hours of self-improvement.

While everyone else is stuck in the grind, you could be liberating yourself one book, one speech, one idea at a time.


Brian M. Delrosario

I make work easier and more fulfilling for the next person

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