🦁 While others search for what they can take, a true king searches for what he can give. 👑

Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. While others search for what they can take, a true king searches for what he can give.

~~~Mufasa (The Lion King, 2019)~~~

Mufasa protected and managed the pride lands. Hunting only enough food to survive. Scar over hunted and took and took, that is why his reign was a failure.

This is something important to remember, for all of us. I will think of this quote as I develop my career. To remind me to only take enough so that I can give my most back to you.

And now for a controversial opinion…

The new Lion King is better than the original, it is the definitive version of the story! The film follows most of the same notes as the original while adding little touches that enhance the experience. This aphorism is one of those improvements!

These little touches made most characters even more likable. Simba, Nala, Zazu and Scar being standouts. I especially like that they gave Nala some more moments to showcase that the Pridelands had a strong queen, as well as a strong king. Timon and Pumbaa were great, they had to be of course! Not every character is perfect. I wanted more Rafiki, and could swing either way on which version of Mufasa was better.

I’ve noticed that other people had the opposite opinion of the movie. So go see it and form an opinion for yourself!

These two versions of the same story carry a lot of personal significance to me…

A big theme of the story is that Simba is strong but he had to grow up before he could truly be a king. I saw the animated film when I was a boy, Full of promise and wanting to be a man but still a cub like Simba was.

Now I am seeing the story again decades later, as a man. Like Simba, I have been hurt by the world, grown up, and have learned to overcome my hardships. I am have become the man I always wanted to be. I am ready to be king of my life and take my place in this world.

The timing of seeing this film could not be better!

I made some art after seeing the show!

Aphorisms Articles
“ Lush Fremont summers”

🎢 The website is rolling, time to make some life shifts! ⭐️

“ Lush Fremont summers”

The latest website news!

It has been 18 days since I launched this site! I am enjoying the process. Being fully forthcoming, there are days when I feel discomfort as I look at my current life and where I want to be. Soon after, I always remember that I am not falling into a hole, in fact I am moving forward. Just not moving forward as fast as I would like, not yet! This situation gives me full confidence in what lays ahead.

Great improvements have been made to my website since launch. Now, I am ready to make some big shifts in my life. So, it is time to write a website update for you. Now you know what is and what will be…

The current website state:

I have made many upgrades to my website since launch. My social media accounts are linked and I have made many formatting improvements. With all the posts I’ve done, I feel my writing style developing. All the time I add little style improvements. For example: adding emojis to every article title and learning word-press formatting improvements.

Short stories has been added as a article category. There is no need to add any more category varieties to the articles.

Unfortunately, I had to make changes to the filtered photo art and the page is still far from what I have in mind. I had to remove a lot of my work and don’t see the point of reposting my art in the current format when I intend to make another major change to that page.

What comes next for the website?

The next change will be to refine my social media connections to be razor sharp. I now have a social media following but I’m not using the sharing features I built into my website. I want a bit more polish to the social media process before I share each new post on facebook, twitter, instagram, and tumblr.

There is general website polish I want to make as well. I want to smooth out the category pages and make them more magazine like. Adding descriptions would be great!

Following that, I want to redesign the filtered photo art page. I have long term ambitions to sell pictures and will plan to redesign the page in August to move towards that goal.

My Raise my Rideshare course is on hold for now. The ad just expired and I have made a choice. There is enough engagement to merit a product, and my product can have an impact. There is not enough engagement to incite me to making over thirty carefully crafted videos. So, I will write a $15 eBook instead! I expect to have this done within two months.

The next new addition will be a new “Art” tab: Video Art! This would include dance videos and other fun projects involving videography. I don’t see this making me any money, unless a video went viral. This work would be work of passion and so is a secondary improvement.

I am still a long way from posting as much as I would like. I expect at least two more months before I have a money generating product on this site. For that reason, I will be slowing down website updates for a bit and get some movement in my life first…

Life shifts!

My website does immediately give me some monetary opportunities for job changes. Now that my website is up, I have a lot of material that gives me credibility in the fields of mixology and graphical design. I’ve enjoyed my time with Uber but am now ready to create new work.

I am only applying to a few established jobs, the ones that can move me to a different country for six months or more. How cool would it be for me to produce posts while living in another country?

Instead, I am offering specialized cocktail mixology services to bars and catering companies. I’ll face more rejection, sure. This is how I learn, these will be the experiences that will form me into a savvy business man one day!

Recently I found a contest made by Flor de Caña and Liquor.com: The Fair Trade Certified Cocktail Challenge! Four winning contestants will get a vacation to Nicaragua, make money, and have their cocktail featured. My cocktail, Volcano’s Bliss could easily be modified for this contest. Wish me luck, dear readers!

"Volcano bliss frame"

Additionally, I have decided to make a service gig on Fiverr. For those of you who don’t know, Fiverr is a site for offering and buying freelance services. Photo editing, voice work, business advice, website design and more is offered there. I will make my own service. Once business kicks up, I expect I can make more money than I did with Uber, still have control of my work schedule, gain remote work capabilities and truly be able to work any hours I like. Improved sleep, here I come! This is also an early learning experience in running a business. When this gig is ready, I will share it as latest news.

I like to think of all this work as entry level learning in entrepreneurship.

Finally I want to talk about you, my community.

I’m very grateful and pleased that so many of my posts are appreciated! This blog is gaining more likes and followers all the time. I want to take some time and say hello to my followers, read their blogs, and engage with you all more! It will be some months before I can be active on a daily basis but you can expect to hear from me if you are a follower.


"Lightrick on the move"

📖 “To him, who has often told the tales of others, many tales will be told.” 🖋

“It is an extremely common mistake. People think the writer’s imagination is always at work, that he’s constantly inventing an endless supply of incidents and episodes; that he simply dreams up his stories out of thin air. In point of fact, the opposite is true. Once the public knows you’re a writer, they bring the characters and events to you. And as long as you maintain your ability to look, and to carefully listen, these stories will continue to seek you out over your lifetime. To him, who has often told the tales of others, many tales will be told.”

~~~ The Author (The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014) ~~~

What you put into the world will often reflect back on you.

Using myself as an example, I designed cocktails and hosted cocktail parties. Now when I meet new members of my community, they already know me for my cocktails. Four of my friends have talked to me about their business ideas involving bartending.

I think of this quote as I add my short stories category. This post is timed to my 1st one! My First Ad and the Four Days Following. Now I will tell tales of others, and I expect that many will share their tales with me.

This will be a welcome change!

For an interesting man is only as fascinating as the interesting people he draws into his life.

Aphorisms Articles

💵 My First Ad and the Four Days Following 📰

On 7/13/2019, I launched my 1st paid ad!

For $30, facebook will run a 10 day ad. A post that can be seen by over 300 people a day! It was an exciting moment, one of those uncomfortable ones I know will bring growth.

As some of my current readers know…

I survived, and had the flexibility to make this website, by Uber driving. What surprised me about my work with Uber was that I was very good at it. I was a highly rated driver from the start. Quickly, I discovered many quality-of-life habits that made me a more effective driver.

This website was made with a few paid programs in mind, so I felt a course on Uber might be a good service I could give and make some money.

This month, I have been reading The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. A piece of advice he gave is to market your potential products a little before you have a product. Why spend good money and time on a product only to learn the market doesn’t want it?

With that in mind, I realized something about my Uber course. I would gladly pay thirty dollars, learn that there is a market, or find out I shouldn’t make over thirty videos.

After running the ad by a few close friends I posted this final draft:

The most important teachable lesson I have learned over the four days since then…

Good results will come from quality work but expect a lot of harsh, if not pointlessly negative, feedback from your 1st Facebook ad.

As a new unknown with no previously established credibility, you can expect a lot of distrust from some people. It is only after we walk through that gauntlet for a while before we gain a reputation that promotes good feedback. So walk that gauntlet!

I am so grateful to the experiences and mentors who gave me the power to meet that feedback with professionalism and grace. Now, I feel enjoyment with how I handled my 1st three commentators! It is owed to what I have learned.

Here is the exchange between me and my 1st commentator, Ismael:

I saw this post shortly after I posted the ad. My blood started pumping.
Already I was working to extract any useful feedback from Ismael’s post.
I was tempted to ask Ismael to look at this situation from my perspective and charge customers $7 one-time after spending three days making videos. My better instincts prevailed.
Apologies for the long post…I loved writing this though! I had been given a chance to sell my product more, on the fly, on a comment thread everyone can see.
By reading his courses, Dean Graziosi taught me that we want to attract our ideal customer and repeal other customers. I wasn’t super keen on having Ismael’s business from the moment I saw his comment. Do not seek customers who will cause you undue frustration or have many complaints. I felt that Ismael could learn a lot from me, but he was not ready to learn.
Not only was I able to tell Ismael what was on my mind, I found a way to do it with grace. Very thankful to Dale Carnegie’s teachings that made this response possible.
I was pleasantly surprised that Ismael became supportive after our back and forth!
I was fully happy as I wrote this response. Honest too about the “advice”. Ismael had given me a lot of useful feedback. Some intentional and supportive, some unintentional and critical, all useful. Next ad I run, I will be sure to give more background to not elicit such initial mistrust.

My second commentator was Hermes:

Hermes also opened up critical, but not critical of my product. I enjoyed this little exchange. It was another opportunity to show another side of what I offered in my product. An easier conversation than with Ismael too!

My third commentor may have been named Matt but his name is of no consquence…

Because all he had to say on my ad was “motherfuckers.”

I swiftly deleted this comment without a single thought of responding. I suggest to you, my dear readers, that you will be happier by never engaging with criticism that has no value at all. Nor should such criticism be left for others to see. Delete and forget, like I did.

So how has the ad done so far?

My ad has reached 1904 people and had 69 engagements. I’ve gotten 15 likes, the likes stand out. In my ad I asked to “like or comment” if you wanted to get this product. Lets assume 60% of people who liked actually bought. That would be 9 people and $270 earned. After I put in the hard work to get the videos ready, that is money earned without me looking at it.

An encouraging start!

What really matters though is where my time spent nets the most value. For the next month, I will be working on developing a job and/or gigs that pay more than Uber. Now that my website is getting its footing, I have a lot to show for my work and can use it to negotiate exciting work opportunities.

I still may make the Uber course in the fall. The ad showed some potential ROI and a market that would benefit from my experience!

Short Stories
“Casa di Martin”

🏡 Casa di Martin 🌳

“Casa di Martin”

When speaking about our travels, we should also speak of the places that we called “home.”

~~~Ricky West~~~

The major home of my childhood was “Casa di Martin…”

Casa di Martin is a two story mansion, settled in the verdant hills of Orinda, California.

This is the man who designed, built, and lived in Casa di Martin.

My father, Martin. I have named Casa di Martin in his honor.

Martin graduated in Architecture from the University of Oregon. He then went on to remodel or build nearly forty houses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dad did it all, He would draw the designs and then have a hand in every aspect of the building. Carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, landscaping and terra-forming are all parts of Martin’s legacy.

Being Martin’s son, I have been around tools, design, and vision building for my whole life. When I was 12, I started working with my dad and spent many of my summers helping build Casa di Martin.

For Dad, Casa di Martin was his dream home. It was that type of project that all artists have: the big expression of talent that artists seek to make reality. Dad’s design of Casa di Martin was inspired by the architecture of Tuscany. Hence, I gave the home’s nickname an Italian feel too.

Growing up at Casa di Martin…

I lived in Casa di Martin even before it was fully constructed. To give you readers context, my family moved into this house for tax reasons and had to made do using an outhouse and showering at a friend’s home or at the gym for five months. Made me appreciate a good bathroom, I’ll tell you.

Living at Casa di Martin was luxurious in ways. I had a beautiful home, a full acre of space to explore, dance, and do what I wanted. However, my family’s experience was unique. Most people who live in homes like this have loads of money and can afford to employ cooks, gardeners and maids. Since my my family was a middle class one that built its way into living in a mansion, we had to do all the work ourselves. Living in a mansion is not all sunshine and rainbows when you have to maintain the grounds personally.

When the great recession hit the USA, I was in college. Partly due to the recession, I returned from college to help my family survive the recession’s effects. For years my family worked to improve the grounds of our home to keep its sale value up. We would work long hours, then clean the whole house every day. Finally we would have a pain pill and glass of wine to end the day.

We sold Casa di Martin to another family in 2014. We lost a lot of value to the recession but the sale gave my father a comfortable retirement, my mother a decent sum, and allowed me to pay off all my student debt from college. To this day, I have nearly no debt and I am very grateful.

Moving to smaller homes was a reprieve for my family. My father and mother separated soon after the sale and we three went our separate ways. All of us enjoyed having simple homes that were not so exhausting to live in.

It has been five years since then. A lot has happened but I still feel the peace of not having student debt. I remember my childhood home. Gratitude for the experience is what I say about Casa di Martin.

A gallery of our old home:


💵 ‘Hey, what can I get for $275 and uh… a Yogurt lands reward card?’ 🍦

‘Hey, what can I get for $275 and uh… a Yogurt lands reward card?’          

“Baby, about 48 minutes of whatever the fuck you want. And a low-fat dessert.”

~~~ Wade Wilson / Deadpool & Vanessa Carlysle (Deadpool, 2016) ~~~

Treat the people you deal with like people. Sharing a bit of humor and charm can turn a simple transaction into a beautiful relationship!

(FYI: I don’t shy away from the occasional bit of raunchiness, profanity, and adult topics.)

Aphorisms Articles

🌶 Three-eyed “Tres-ojos” Don 🤠

“Are you ready to meet Tres-Ojos Don?”

~~~ Ricky West ~~~

Three-eyed Don…a sweet and tart with an aftertaste of spice that warms the body! The drink is distinguished by its three red pomegranate eyes and the majesty of Don Julio’s finest tequila…

A close look at Don’s red eyes…

Includes two ounces of Don Julio Reposado and one ounce of Grand Marnier. Both bottles have a ABV of 40%.

Composed of fine sweet-and-sour, mango, lime, Jserrano syrup, and egg whites.

Please, drink responsibly…

This tequila drink has all the composition of a margarita. Expect a sweet front taste and spicy after taste.

The spice is delicately balanced, so as to not overwhelm. You are welcome to ask for minimal spice, before the drink is prepared.

Three-eyed Don is designed to be served with dinner. It pairs well with savory meals!

The bar price for Three-eyed Don is $25

Available with Don Julio 1942. At additional cost.

Cocktails Uncategorized

💪🏻 “Fear profits a man nothing.” 😎

“The All-Father wove the skein of your life a long time ago. Go and hide in a hole if you wish, but you won’t live one instant longer. Your fate is fixed. Fear profits a man nothing. ”

~~~ Herger the Joyous (The 13th Warrior, 1999) ~~~

We all move towards the same end point, death. I chose to take “risks” in pursuit of a better life because this is my one life as Ricky West.

My life is an celebration!

You’re lives are waiting for you to share your potential!! Just as I share mine here at manofthewest.blog.

By the way,

The 13th Warrior was underrated. There were great character dynamics and a lot of wise aphorisms like this one.

“Yarra wine country”

🗣 “People need stories more than bread itself.” 🥖

“People need stories more than bread itself.  They tell us how to live, and why.”

~~~ The Storyteller (Arabian Nights, 2000) ~~~

I have been consuming stories all my life. Some stories I tell, other stories I live and are told of me.

Stories form our perspectives, teach us values, and fuel our purpose.

What unites people? Armies, gold, flags…Stories…There is nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”

~~~ Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne, 2019) ~~~
"Looking at blue skies"

🇦🇺 Two years after Melbourne 🦘

"What are you looking at?"

Two years ago today, on 7/7/2017, I left Melbourne after living there for six months…

Do you want to read the cliff-notes of my visit?

Two years and six months ago, I flew there on an exchange semester. At that time, I was a student of San Francisco State University (SFSU). A member of the 1st group to study at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Not only were we students, we were ambassadors. Our behavior would be the foundation for a new relationship between the two universities.

I lived in the city of Melbourne, province of Victoria, country of Australia.

This city is one of my favorite cities in the world! The people are social and easy to meet. Public transportation puts Californian transportation to shame; I did not drive. The innovative city design, Yarra River, surrounding cities and Great Ocean Road were all so wonderful to behold!

Getting more micro: I lived in Brunswick, a suburb 30 bus-ride minutes north of the city.

I lived in a quint home with 5 housemates. I was the only US American in the house. My housemates were from Australia, New Zealand, and Turkey. We got along so well! Often we would have drinks together in the back yard and talk. Occasionally, we held BBQ’s!

During my stay I was elected as a Social Ambassador for RMIT!

I got a week’s worth of rent money and the opportunity to seek out experiences in Australia and tag RMIT (#RMITglobal). Thank you RMIT, I am so grateful for those experiences…

What I did as a social ambassador:

Found beautiful graffiti in the city, watched an AFL game at the Cricket Ground, spotted unique stores, and visited the museums! ArtVo, the Melbourne Museum, and the Immigration Museum were amazing!

My sweet mother, Pamela, gave me a great gift that year: a vacation with Extreme Adventures ~ one fish two fish!

A trip in Queensland that began in Brisbane and ended in Cairns.

We spring-break students traveled north on a ten day trip, sleeping in hostels each night. We traveled through the Australia Zoo, Rainbow Beach, Fraser Island, the Whitsunday Islands, Whitehaven Beach, the Tully River, and the Great Barrier Reef.

What a thrill! I bungee jumped at Hackett Cairns!! The most moving part of the trip was Raging Thunder – Xtreme Tully at the Tully River.

There was light rain dripping on the river as we rafted through a tropical forest. Being there evoked childhood memories of watching Disney’s the Jungle Book, dreaming I was Mowgli living in the wild. It felt like adventure…

So much fun!!! I felt as though I crammed a year into my six month AU visit…

A part of Australia stays with me, do you want to know what it is?

The feelings of family I have for the friends I made in Australia. Many of us were fellow travelers, experience and marveling at Australia together. This is my Australia family! The people who made me feel at home so far from my land of birth…

To my friends:

Thank you! Two years ago was a formative time in my life. I look forward to seeing you again as we travel through the world and life. Long live the super mega fun team!