Stopped Writing and Hangzhou

Usually, I right my 500 words in the morning right after breakfast and during morning tea. It’s supposed to follow the “Be a Producer and not a Consumer”, especially getting up first thing in the morning. I try not to check my email, read the news or do anything that generally requires me to consume information. Instead I try and get my mind thinking to produce information.

Recently, I stopped writing for a few days and when I started again, it wasn’t in the beginning of the day. This pause had noticeable effects on my daily productivity and mood. I effectively broke a habit that I’ve kept up for a good number of months. I wish I hadn’t, but circumstances change and when the schedule changes, you adapt.

Speaking of habits, apparently it takes, on average, 66 to 95 days to form or remove a habit. That’s about two to three months according to ‘experts’. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing because it means you have to keep something up for almost an entire season. I guess time passes quite quickly but it sometimes scares me to think of how the days and months crumble together. To stick with something for so many months, without change. Hmm.

The quick passing of time is supposedly because of the lack of ‘memory anchors’. These memories are experiences that had a profound impact on you, for good and bad. The more closely grouped these anchors are, the slower time seems. It will seem even slower if they all happen in the same time and jumble together continuously. I suppose it’s true. I remember high school entrepreneurship being so much fun, with so many memories together. But there weren’t many other memories to compare it to so everything else seemed like meh. All this I felt just after a few days of not writing in the morning.

A few days ago I made a trip to Hangzhou and ate at a Taiwanese operated all you can eat vegetarian buffet for 12 USD . I should have remembered to take pictures but by the time I got there I was already starving half to death. There were 20 different plates of vegetarian hot dishes, 15 cold dishes, 8 hot soups, 8 dessert soups, and over 50 beverages. HEAVENLY. If it wasn’t for the fact that they put us in such a crowded room with a small table, I’d almost have nothing to critique. The food was delicious- tasted better than the expensive, three floor vegetarian mecca in Shanghai. What it lacked in style and presentation, it made up for in taste and variety. Sure, its western dishes like-spaghetti was a disappointment, but it wasn’t really their strength. It was all mainly Asian cuisine. Definitely going to go back. Unfortunately, it cost us 3 hours because the highway road back was closed during the afternoon so we had to make an extra 1.5 hour detour. Ugh. It was worth the food though.

500 Words

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I’ve been trying to search for a better platform for my writing for a few days now and I’ve come to the conclusion that I should just stick with Tumblr.

My main concern with Tumblr is that it’s mainly for pictures and gifs, quotes and links. It’s not really for just writing content. I can’t help but feel most people just skim through the writing, especially when it’s in blocks and blocks of texts. There’s also a disproportionate amount of just pictures and memes that load in Tumblr and I’m not really able to do much quality writing. I figured it’s probably best to find a better platform to write on.

There’s tons of writing blog platforms out there but I still haven’t found one that fits right. My first choice was Medium but you have to login with your Twitter account. I just felt so disappointed that you would have to connect quality writing through a mandatory login that I personally feel like is too frivolous. I never really understood the allure of Twitter and I’m not interested in learning about why it’s so enthralling. If I was interested in your thoughts on something, I’d probably just send you an email or call you and ask.

The closest one was Hi.co. I actually really, really enjoyed using it. I felt like it was a blogging community just right for travel bloggers and everyday thoughts. It also matched my philosophy of attaching a photo per text. Unfortunately, I don’t have stable, streaming internet. The writing also has geolocation that loads automatically. It kills my Internet speeds. Every time I try and write something and hit to submit, it dies in the middle. I’d like to use this more often someday. Perhaps when I have better access to the Internet in another location when I’m traveling.

I contemplated going to use Wordpress but I just felt that trying to find a theme would be way too stressful. I also feel burdened to go through the many ranges of themes since I know the possibilities of one that adheres exactly to my taste. I tried to download and use the Svbtle theme once, that copies the Svbtle blogging platform, 100% quality writing, everything stripped down except the attention to words and text. But even then I found it too difficult to use since it requires html and the Wordpress button sink doesn’t work.

So after a big round of searching I’ve simple just decided to return to Tumblr until a better option comes up. I even considered using Medium, Tumblr, and Hi.co all at the same time. That way I can write comfortably on one platform and the rest would just publish out. Unfortunately, IFTTT doesn’t support Medium or Hi.co so I’m stuck.
Maybe when Hi.co comes up with an Android app. That way I can load directly from my phone connection. 

                         

Anyone have any suggestions to another blog writing platform that loads well in China and relatively unstable Internet?

Eccentric Impressions

Some people just love to be eccentric because it gets them more attention. Others do it because they think that that eccentricity is what made other people ‘successful’. The most ridiculous types of people I’ve met, think that by following people like Steve Jobs, etc, down to their very last mundane personality traits will contribute to a better XYZ. What bullshit.

I’ve noticed this quite a lot when talking to a lot of first-time startup entrepreneurs. They focus all of their resources on something that is completely frivolous and cite that, ‘This is how Steve Jobs / Bill Gates, Mark Cuban / Enter-whoever-you-want-here, did it’. The truth is. Unless they are those people and had the exact same experiences during the exact same times, with the exact same factors and variables can you make a claim like that. I just don’t seem to understand why these children insist on picking up ALL the personality traits and work habits of their role models, instead of just choosing the best qualities. Why would you want to copy them down to the last detail when you know that some of those qualities was the source of great grief in their life.

I used to know someone who would constantly say that Bill Gates was not a genius as everyone said he was. He was just lucky. Who was a true genius was in fact Warren Buffet. I’d hear this line constantly and then after an extended period of time without contact, I heard him laud Bill Gates and how, in his paper at Harvard, addressing the pankcake problem, was simply a work of brilliance. From then on, he would cite how intelligent Bill Gates was, and how it, no doubt, contributed to the success of Microsoft. I lost a considerable amount of respect for him because it just shows how anyone can pick up on any single trait and generalize enough so that it will explain any and all things. It was clear that he never went out to learn more about Gates but, in passing and hearing one fact that impressed him, changed his view completely. The point is –if you are going to cite someone as an example, you need to do your homework on these people. Learn why they are who they are. Don’t just listen and choose to believe what you want. Eventually, you’ll know that things aren’t really as black and white as you think. The ‘genius’ and ‘visionary’ attributes of Jobs were also the same attributes that lead to hubris and arrogance which eventually drove him out of Apple – but not before creating massive rifts between work departments, scaring tons of employees, and finally punishing those who endured his eccentric wrath by firing them and having their pensions burned.

Sure, it just may be that eccentricity is what differentiates some entrepreneurs from others, but its not the only thing that contributes to their success. Fast Company had this excellent article on A Better Place, a while ago. I couldn’t help but think about how sad it was. All of these people thinking that a seemingly glorified salesman could burn through so much of other people’s money. I home some day, there’s a leadership (or a NON-leadership) case study on the odd personality traits of entrepreneurs and how it contributes to success as well as failure.

0 notes

Senior Thesis, Follow Up

So… … …

I just found out my Thesis was cited on Google for a Master’s thesis paper in Copenhagen….

I will express my exceedingly immature excitement via Tumblr, the only way I know how - by way of capital fonts in keyboard gibberish…

HOW I FELT AFTER SEEING THE CITATION:

(O.O) ->  (>.<) ->  !!!(>.<) ->  (O.O)

ASDFLAOIHONIA!!AOVINAIENUVAF!ASDION;LOPALKWONCO!OAICEIAMNLKAJF!!!

/end

1 note

How to Ask & Not to Fear

moderndao:

There are usually two types of people that visit the temple: one that has had extremely bad luck and another that needs something/seeks something. Usually this is a product of fear and desire. When people come to pray under this pretense, we interpret this as Paganism and superstition.

So under what conditions should you visit the temple and what exactly is the point of asking for the divine if not for an exchange of services?

Pray…

  • Not to feel fear or desire or grief; but for the courage to confront fear, the determination to defeat desire, and the love to overcome grief. 
  • Not some way to sleep with her but a way to stop wanting to
  • Not some way to get rid of him but a way to stop trying
  • Not some way to save my child but a way to lose your fear

Remember that Religion is made for people: People are not made for Religion. Praying for a material good or a material return from an institution created by humans, for the purpose of human understanding, is no different than asking for a cup of water to help you get a house. Instead, you should use your prayers as a way to improve yourself. Rely, not on the divine, but yourself. The divine can only help when you are willing to act on your own behalf.

Remember to live this life and not worry about the next. That is for monastic to worry about. But even then, when you are faced with mortality, when you know of your certain death, won’t you cherish every moment you have to live? Won’t you go out to live as you always wanted and not as how others wanted?

The days shall pass and the years will wander. When time has slipped slowly away, what will you say to yourself to in the mirror? Will you be proud to see the wrinkles and scars of your body? Or will you look in disgust and hate?

This reminds me oddly of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. But slightly more practical. I feel like preaching the end of the world, or the end of individual life is a bit somber but it seemingly has its uses. You make better use of your time. You learn that dwelling on the past, or negativity is fruitless. It only harms you. You’re wasting your effort and your emotional resources to cope with it. Sure, sometimes its not really a choice. Sometimes there’s a medical condition, sometimes your brain is affected in ways you don’t understand. You’re wired to constantly think about something. But you just have to trust and believe that there is something better, otherwise, in your darkest moments, you won’t see a way out.

For anyone looking for a pretty cool translation of the DaoDeJing, I recommend the translation by Ron Hogan. It’s written in very, very plain English. Its also kind of comical. Better than the Tao of Winnie the Pooh. Plus, its in Creative Commons so its free.

1 note

Senior Thesis, One Year Later

Ok, so it’s actually been 11 months but that’s okay, almost a year. Since then it’s gotten over 350 downloads on scholars.claremont.edu. And no, I didn’t spend hours at a time downloading it all myself. Though I got a B- for it (or a B?) and wasn’t too happy with it, I knew I was contributing something to the industry and academia since it was such a new topic and industry. I got my A in seeing the massive amount of downloads for my paper

It was on the selection criteria of technology accelerators compared against venture capitalists’. Originally it started out as an idea just to see how accelerators affected the startup scene. It’s arguably ‘new’, though, through my research, it seems that VCs group it with incubators all the same. It’s just their method of providing services for the startup. I got the idea for it Junior year, second semester, from Yohei, who was guest speaking for Sarah’s class. He actually wanted to do this thesis but for some reason didn’t end up with it. So I did instead. I had to quantify it a lot better so I could get some data. Unfortunately, there was no data on accelerators so I had to conduct it.

Luckily, this was when my network of mentors and friends I made in New York came to help. I emailed and called on almost every single one of them to connect me to accelerators. It was a ton of phone calls, scheduling and emails but it was also fun. I got a lot of answers and many of them were pretty insightful. Unfortunately, they were all opinions of subject matter expert and there wasn’t yet the data to prove their opinions yet but just finding out about them and their views on the startup scene was a learning experience in itself.

For good or for bad, I didn’t get a large enough response for my survey. I knew I wouldn’t in the back of my head and had told myself to have started in the fall semester but I was juggling way too much at that time. In the end I only got half the amount I wanted and worse, or better, but some of those accelerators had already closed their doors by the time I finished writing my thesis.

Other problems included how my inept statistics calculations. There was a period of time when I just stared at all the numbers and said, How the f*ck am I going to compare these two?  I even consulted my Econometrics Professor who simply said, nah, it can’t be done. thankfully I found that it was just me who also failed at explaining the type of data I had.

In the end, I didn’t get the grade I wanted, which I was okay with later. I did alot of leg work and I learned a lot the nature of the paper wasn’t very quantifiable anyways and I didn’t know how to word it as a scholarly and academic paper. It was also a good refresher for me as I was sort of out of touch from the industry anyways. That’s my A, seeing those downloads. 

Abstract:

The explosive growth of ‘accelerators’ in the United States has given entrepreneurs and their startups the opportunity to pursue seed-stage financing. While the specific economic role of accelerators remains unclear, a study comparing the selection of portfolio companies between accelerators and venture capitalists was performed. A difference of means was performed on the responses per question between the collected 19 accelerators’ response and the 100 venture capitalists’ response, recorded from a prior study. It is found that venture capitalists place significantly more weight, than accelerators, on the potential of the startup’s product or service to be proprietary, to enter a high-growth market with little threat of competition within the first 3 years, and to deliver a high financial return within 5 to 10 years. The results also indicate that both accelerators and venture capitalists emphasize different attributes of the entrepreneur and venture team when considering selection.

Recommended Citation

Chang, Cody, “Portfolio Company Selection Criteria: Accelerators vs Venture Capitalists” (2013). CMC Senior Theses. Paper 566.
http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cmc_theses/566

                         

Random Thoughts on Life

So I’ve been at the Temple on and off for about a year now. Well another month and it’ll be a year soon. Most of the days are pretty much up to me to decide what I want to do and learn. Most of the time I just sit by the balcony overlooking the valley gorge and contemplate on life. Here’s a few of my random thoughts in no particular order

1. Sometimes I feel like I’m not making any progress intellectually because I have no attributable advancement in any technical skill. If you’re a craftsman or an engineer and you spend days and weeks and months on a certain task you eventually get better. If you are a writer, reader, or editor, and you keep working on your language and literature, you get better. Sometimes they are easy to quantify or easily identifiable. But for some reason, emotional progress seems to be very ‘slow’ or at least unnoticeable in change. Coping abilities that people have also seem to progress at glacial paces, if at all. Spending time here, I get that feeling that I’m just not making any progress in any front in my life and I have to constantly remind myself that some progress is easily viewable but others are not

2. People seem to goals and fight zealously to achieve them but it’s the process that people have to learn to enjoy otherwise you will constantly be going after something that is permanently set in the future tense. Sometimes that’s the problem with goal setting. It gets you so fixated on the potential sense of achievement AFTER you achieve it. Like someone is going to give you a big award and a fat check. Sure, that might be nice, but if you don’t learn to enjoy the process then you risk suffering and pain if the goals change or become unobtainable. Looking back, it wasn’t winning the awards that I enjoyed in high school, it was the process and experience that got me to that point. It made all the difference.

3. Being successful in academics does not equate to success in life. I used to think otherwise as schoolwork is a reflection of life, especially in school when it takes up a majority of your day. Your sole focus and task becomes doing well in school. But the skills necessary to succeed in school and the skills to succeed in life seem so far off. The learning curve to apply overlapping school lessons to life lessons is too high, especially for most college kids. I think I realized this subconsciously long ago and simply forfeited a lot of my time; time that should have been dedicated to academics. Instead, I used that time to apply it to something beyond the four walls of the classroom. Like real life. The difference in college was sometimes staggering. I remember peers that would wait days on end for Facilities and Maintenance to come fix their broken bed or replace a bulb. They’d rather suffer sometimes weeks instead of just spending 10 mins to look at the problem themselves to solve it. It was unbelievable.

4. I read a quote somewhere in the comments of FastCompany for an article or somewhere that said:

Zeal without discipline is a sure-fire recipe to blow a lot of investor money. 

I couldn’t agree more. Its so well written and well articulated. The mad rush to Silicon Valley, the ridiculous amount of accelerators popping up, and every single goddamn infant thinking the have the next industry disruptor. I commend them for their passion and zeal, but I just hated reading about all the news, or in fact noise, about it. The herd mentality or everyone doing it because everyone else is. Worse than blind leading the blind, these people take other people’s money to mess with.

5. On the topic of News to Noise, I’ve realized the less news I read, the more content I produce in writing. My mind isn’t filled with nonsense. It helps that the temple only has two hours of excruciatingly slow internet, speeds that would shame a dying tortoise. This forces me to be very intentional about my time when I’m browsing. I no longer bullshit around stupid sites and waste time to download on it. I literally have to make a list of things during the day that I want to research, type it into the browser to save and as soon as there is WIFI, I Load all to get all my needed information. News consists of reading the top two pages of r/World News on Reddit. That’s it.  Usually I’ll have an hour or so left to browse tumblr and post my writing. Otherwise, that’s it. There simply is no need to keep up with news that is usually sensational and biased, targeted to get the most views, ratings, and clicks.

6. Dan sent me a great video of Steve Jobs where Jobs accepts an award with the speech that contains:

We all sort of eat food that other people make and wear clothing that other people make and speak a language that some other people evolved, and use someone else’s mathematics, and we’re all sort of taking from this giant pool constantly. And the most ecstatic thing in the whole world is to put something back into that pool

I think If, in my lifetime, I can ‘contribute’ something to the pool, I could die happy and knowing that I just didn’t expend the Earth’s resources needlessly.

Books I Gave Up

So I’ve mainly been relying on memory, AskReddit, r/Books, fuckinghomepage.com, and Goodreads to decide on the books I should read. I also have a random number generator that I use to select from my Books to Read list. I’ve added a bunch of books since and now have had a chance to look at all the books I’ve read so far to identify which books I gave up on.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
This is apparently the book that Ted Kennedy declared the best book ever written for mankind, or something to that effect. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get through it. I probably read up to 15% of it and couldn’t follow it. I even made a handy-dandy diagram of the family tree and the travels and all that. Nope. Perhaps it’s because it moved through the generations too quick, or that the magical realism was too difficult distinguish. I don’t know. But the English translation version that I read was not enjoyable. I’ve been told that I am a mistake (yes, me as a person.) for giving up and not reading this book. Well, I’m sorry. The names seem all conjumbled together with Senior, Junior, same first and last names but different middle names. Apparently it’s supposed to discuss and reveal the trials, rise and falls of human society, or something grandiose of that nature. But I just couldn’t get myself to enjoy the book. I actually dreaded reading it before picking it up because my memory had to be jogged so intensely to catch up with the sequence of events that lead to specific points. I decided that, even though it’s a classic, it’s not for me. I’m not in school anymore, nor am I an English/ Literature major and it’s not required reading.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
To the same sort of effect, the Brothers Karamazov was another dreaded read. This one I probably gave a better chance because I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and almost everyone that praised it said that you need to power through the beginning background info and that it picks up pretty quick in the middle. Again, it’s supposed to be about human morality and the greater good of society, etc. I put it in the same bucket as One Hundred Years of Solitude. I simply could not get through it. Perhaps I’m still stuck in high school or pre-undergraduate reading because I need to be drawn into the plot and understand the setting fairly quickly otherwise, I’ll just lose interest. I’ve heard that seasoned readers actually enjoy the massive background information because they can frame their imagination in the perfect context, and follow the characters better. Too bad for me I guess. I found the joy of reading too late, mostly because I always had a negative association with reading all throughout middle and elementary school. I was consistently compared to my brother who apparently read a lot. I was always badgered “why aren’t you reading books? Your brother at your age read XYZ many books?’. Then when I actually did start reading, my mother would make me feel like shit by exclaiming ‘OMG! You’re READING?! That’s unbelievable! Oh my Buddha!”. Yeah. Thanks for the encouragement.

Bank 3.0 by Brett King
It’s supposed to give you a modern overview of the banking industry in the 21st century, namely the powerful influence of technology and how it is impacting global markets and trading. Everything from online banking, credit and debit cards, cryptocurrency, online payments, etc. I probably read a good 10% and skimmed another 40% and gave up on it. It was a non-fiction book that I was looking to educate myself with. But there didn’t seem to be anything that I didn’t know already. Sure that sounds arrogant, but I think his target market for this type of book is perhaps the older crowd. I feel like Millennials, or anyone around our generation that uses a computer on a fairly often basis already know everything in this book. I actually said to myself “people actually buy this kind of book - what are we in the stone age?”.

Google Story by Mark Malseed and David A. Vise
Propaganda book. I read 10 pages and had to put it down. It was not objective at all and if the beginning pages don’t set the tone right, I just can’t continue with it. The author gave way, WAY too much praise to Larry and Sergey. It was like he was writing them as the philosopher-kings of the modern day. Sure, we all know that the Google guys are smart and all, but honestly, the book did not present facts, it presented overly bias analytics. I, of course, maybe wrong since I barely read the thing, but it certainly seems that way from the beginning. I expected a much more objective, fact based and well researched opinion/quotations for primary source or firsthand accounts than just worldly praise. I get that the author is impressed, but my goodness, the fluff was so unnecessary. If you’re going to be biased, give me a documentary style bias – bias like a story. Subtle, Silent, & Deadly Persuasive.

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
I must have peaked with the self-improvement and self-help books. I found this book, which is supposed to be one of Robbins’ best, to be highly repetitive of the same themes in mostly all self-help and self-improvement books. The message for most of them is to have undying motivation to persevere through hell in order to accomplish what you love. OK, but give me some new or more interesting ways to develop that kind of motivation. Articulate it in a way that’s succinct. Make it sounds so nice that I can put it in a quote book. Instead, I found it to be way too long-winded and subtly arrogant. I enjoyed his TED talk but this book was too verbose, border-lining too much BS. All said, there are many fair points he makes. Thinking about where will you be on ten years is what Shifu always asks as well. Visualize it but don’t get attached to it. Be open to the change. Take action is key, makes me think about Mr. Li telling me to get on with life instead of wallowing it stagnant youth. All very good points that I don’t mind reading about to reinforce myself with. But make it more friendly to read.

Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco
Just seems like a long opinionated rant by the author. He makes a fortune during the tech bubble by selling his website to Yahoo. Good for him and that his trials paid off in the end. But I’m very skeptical about these because I feel like it goes in the same category of A LOT of San Francisco and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. They have one success and suddenly they become authoritative on it. They are on the other side of the table as VC’s. I’m skeptical of their qualifications. Unless you are a successful serial entrepreneur, which IMO ranks the highest in terms of career respect, you can’t be certain that what you did wasn’t a fluke. You can’t be certain that what you did wasn’t more attributed to luck than to skill. To me, you have to weather the changing times, styles and generations in seemingly unassociated and irrelevant industries from scratch to have my respect. It’s conceited, sure, but that’s only because I’ve experienced some of this ‘success’ to know what it’s like. Luckily for me, I have mentors and people I can call my role models who ARE in fact successful serial entrepreneurs.

Otherwise, the book talks too much about the author himself. It kind of reminds me of books by Nick Evangelista- a fencing coach that seems to be the only one writing books. Most people in the fencing community have a…’controversial’…opinion of him and his books mainly because there are either too many tangents in his book or that it just doesn’t seem applicable or practical. Either way, I think most self-help and self-improvement just dissects the psychology of necessary, positive change. For the life of me, I don’t know why fuckinghomepage.com keeps recommending this book.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett +
Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

These were book came highly recommended by Reddit so I thought I would give it a try. I couldn’t finish either of these books. I found Good Omens to lay near the same tracks as Discworld 1- the Colour of Magic, but both these books had too many references to worldly science, religion, and philosophy for me to handle. I just didn’t get the inside jokes. Again, perhaps I’m not well read enough. Or maybe because my disinterest in the biological sciences handicaps me from understanding those references. Either way, the books started out pretty cute and enjoyable but I eventually found it to be too dense in these references. I felt like I just wasn’t picking up on what I should be picking up on and it therefore, probably affected my ability to enjoy the books. I just couldn’t bring myself to continue the books, knowing that I’d probably miss out on the intended joy of reading it. That probably compounded the fact that I just couldn’t connect the dots between some of the plot points.

Here’s The First Emperor of China burning books and burying Confucian scholars alive:

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I remember hearing about this book on 9th grade when someone was talking about it in the hallway. I brushed it off as some universal deity religion book. Instead, after reading it, I found it to be quite a great read. Sure, I saw the movie before I read the book but whatever. The book is still better imo.

Set in future earth, the international star fleet is waging war against insectiod beings and is usually not children as commanders of the fleet because I guess they lack the inhibitions of society that adults have. Ender Wiggin is the genius child that the book is about. It goes through his trials and maturity as he advances to become the leading commander charged with annihilating the bugger planned. Oh, and he’s six to twelve throughout the book.

Oddly, I felt one of the best parts of the book was the introduction. Orson Scott Card talks about his motivations and the ‘history’ of getting to write Ender’s Game, the feedback he’s gotten through the years and other interesting plot points. For example, he says how the book is sometimes used in literature and English classes that go through in depth analysis of certain overlapping themes. There’s military history, coming of age, dealing with personal problems, maturity, etc. It’s all of those and none of those he said. He consciously decided that there would be themes that people would pick up on but also that he wrote it mainly for the regular reader. It can get as complicated as you want and as simple as you want. Hell, I feel like if this was part of my 9th grade reading, my high school class wouldn’t have been so obnoxious and I probably would have learned a lot.

Military strategy was a real plus to read about. I’m not really into video games but all the video games that I did play growing up were strategy games. Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, Starcraft, Warcraft, Total War, etc. I’d suck at it for a long time and if I bothered to stick with it, I’d end up pretty good. Not sure if its good or bad that I ended up in entrepreneurship otherwise I would have probably spent a good part of my youth playing RTS games.

Besides that, I felt like a lot of parts were like reading about myself. Ender always seemed to have trouble making friends because he just didn’t fit into the group. He was smarter and different. Maybe if I got into Stuy or went to Bronx Science, I wouldn’t have this feeling, but all throughout high school, besides Julius, Evin and a few others, I never really felt like I could have a decent conversation with anyone. They were just too immature and thinking on another plane. It wasn’t until I got really involved into entrepreneurship did I feel a lot better. OSCard copied a letter he got in the intro where there was a 9th grader that told him how well he and his summer learning group at Purdue U for accelerated students talked about the book and how they never felt included in their respective high school social groups. I felt like I was reading a part of me. Entrepreneurship really helped me, but also harmed me. I think it pushed me into an older category of socializing. Most of my friends were people 10, 20, 30 years older than me. I was doing things that many people wouldn’t do until their 2nd or 3rd jobs. I was young, but I wasn’t a child. Yet, for the adults that weren’t involved in my life like that, they just didn’t understand. I didn’t have a ‘normal’ childhood and I’m not even sure what that even means. I loved reading strategy books. War strategy, business strategy, critical thinking, psychology books and social science studies. It was incredibly interesting. When I read how Ender thought through problems, trying different things, thinking of different scenarios, I felt like I was back running web-dev. Like I was back running a team. Reading about the bullying was reading about how my brother would always just turn his back, always taking the side of the group to pick on me. I don’t know why he always does it and he still has a tendency to do it now. I suppose that’s why we are so distant and that I feel no remorse about it. But most of all, Ender’s rage was frightening. He was angry enough to kill. I’ve only had two instances where I lost it. And both times I was out to kill. Psychotic rage. Those were the only two times that I couldn’t control it but the times that I could control it. Well. I’m just glad I didn’t do anything stupid.

The one part I just didn’t get was the empathy. Empathy that was enough to love them, which meant you understood them…and that you can destroy them. I suppose that means I’ve never been empathic enough. But then again, if I’ve never been emphatic enough, I wouldn’t know what it means to be even more empathic. Not to say that I’ve never loved anyone. I have and I think I’ve understood them enough. But what exactly does empathy enough to understand and destroy is another level. Perhaps another point of philosophy to discuss in English class.

Oh. And there are spaceships and interstellar space travel. So it really, really cool. Definitely a book that I think I’ll buy. It didn’t bring me to near weeping tears like Flower for Algernon or the Art of Racing in the Rain, but it was a good reminder of what the years past for me was like.

                                    

accidenttpprone:

m0rethanyoubargainedf0r:

catdad:

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.

I reblogged this at like 4am and I’ve spent the whole day thinking about it and randomly laughing

Oh my god I need a rabbit right now god dammit

accidenttpprone:

m0rethanyoubargainedf0r:

catdad:

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.

I reblogged this at like 4am and I’ve spent the whole day thinking about it and randomly laughing

Oh my god I need a rabbit right now god dammit

(via medicalstudentconfessions)

862,238 notes

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

It’s an old book but r/books on Reddit kept recommending it. Every now and then it comes up on Ask Reddit threads that talk about good books.

It’s a good Science Fiction book. Reminded me a lot of the Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. It was also quite humorous at times. Rick Deckard is a Bounty hunter in post-apocalyptic Earth where he hunts down androids posing as humans. The book is about his final day as a Bounty hunter. John Isidore is a genetically damaged human working a dead end job that harbors rogue androids. Philip Dick writes quite well, blending the human aspects of empathy and blur the lines between what makes humans human.

The funniest part is probably how most animals are nearly extinct because of the radiation so having a real animal becomes a sign of prestige and social status. It means you can almost afford to be emphatic. What a stark contrast it is to Art of Racing in the Rain. If there was a book that blended those two together, that’d really be a depressing book. People going crazy because their squirrel died. Or having there weeks of wages blown on a goat or sheep to put on their roof for display. The book starts out by saying that the first to go were Owls. They just fell out of the sky. What a horrible scene but for some reason I burst out laughing. Is this what happens? Are we at that point now? With all the honeybees disappearing? Or perhaps the Dolphins would be gone, just like in hitchhikers guide to the galaxy?

Come to think of it, I almost abandoned this book. Maybe it’s because my Kindle just couldn’t display it in the right format, but it took a while for me to get into it. Maybe because it was too choppy to read and follow on my Kindle. Luckily I read the plot summary on Wikipedia so I had some confidence in the book after reading.

I wonder if we ever will get to that point of androids doing work for humans. I mean, we’re already going into a drone - work society, with them doing deliveries for us. Will there be Android prejudice of them taking the work of the lower class? I finished watching Gangs if New York a while back and it reminded me of how each succeeding group if people hated the next. But it was always the same argument. Oh they are taking all the jobs by working for lower wages. Oh they are diluting the culture of the native people. But androids, if you don’t consider them people, is prejudice still warranted? I suppose it’s like the information age revolution where computers are replacing workers in the modern workforce… Hmm…

The precursor to Blade Runner…

                                 

Adobe Audition CIB

I gave up on music theory. I liked the idea of learning it, I didn’t like actually learning it. It just felt too boring and monotonous to me.

So to make up for it, I figured I would try and learn some sort of music, ish, implement. I’m playing the flute OK but I think it will be a while until I get fully master it. Since I had Adobe software on my computer, I figures, eh why not. I ll learn how to mix.

It was a grind going through it but I’m kind of glad I did. The amount of work that goes into a published and released music track is nuts. So many effects, styles and techniques. The technical terms alone was overwhelming. But I enjoyed it. The Classroom in a Book series takes you through all of the major features and combinations. It gets progressively difficult with each lesson but also more fun.

Some points to critique. I wish they used more popular tracks or perhaps something more mainstream. It would have helped to understand how specific changes affected the overall quality and sound of the track. Something as minute as changing the reverb or delay and echo didn’t really translate to something that I could notice through the earphones. They could have chosen a more modern track to do the lessons on. That way I know what I should be looking for in the changes. Or perhaps I should have just loaded my own tracks during the lessons.

While each chapter went through various functions of Audition, like recordings, mixing, etc, it could have been better done if the chapters didn’t focus on specific technical execution of the tasks. It was too specific in telling that something had to be - 15.9db and something else had to be Xyz hertz. It was like listing commands to follow. I would have preferred for it to say “Frequency and Hz does this. Now mess around with it until it sounds cool”. If it were to go the commands route, I think they should have included a final mix in the lesson folders for reference. That way if you messed up and didn’t now it because you couldn’t hear the difference between how it should be and how the book meant it, you would be able to hear the difference by the end of the lesson.

There was also a ton of technical terms. I wish they included a glossary at the end for technical terms or, better, in the side notes. After about five or six lessons, all the different terms starts to get blurry. It would have helped if there was a guide to distinguish the terms and how changes in each one would affect the overall track. Thankfully, the end of each chapter has review questions to go over the important points.

Overall a good overview of the key functions of Audition. I think I got a good introduction to it. Unfortunately, I thought it veered a bit too technical and I wish it pushed a little bit more creativity and freedom.

"Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life"

The Great Gatsby

0 notes

Depression

I think I may have chronic depression. Of course, it’s a self diagnosis made from the knowledge on the World Wide Web and Reddit. Not sure which is better or worse.

Staying here for an extended period of time gave me a chance to constantly reflect. Okay, that sounded too religious. It was more like me asking myself every so often “WTF am I doing here and am I happy with myself. If not why?”. I have a set schedule and routine here. Time passes by very quick because all the days blur together. Not sure if that’s good or bad. But for one thing, it let’s me notice certain changes in my mood and patterns of productivity.

It seems like I usually have four consecutive days a month where I suddenly get depressed. It’s usually triggered by something. Something I read, a bad dream, a comment one of the Bros say which makes me think of something tangential. I’ll get very anxious and slightly paranoid. I’ll get up alot during the night because I won’t really be able to fall into deep sleep. Then when morning comes, I’m tired as hell and brooding in bad thoughts. I don’t even want to get out of bed and feel incredibly unmotivated to do anything. Nothing seems worth my effort but sleep. When it gets bad, ill have pains on the left side of my chest, right below my heart. My thoughts collapse into each other and I’m suddenly in this massive downward spiral where nothing matters. It’s like I’m just simmering in hate and frustration. All the negative thoughts from the past resurface and my mind makes these ludicrous connections among them. It’s like the Inception scene where DiCaprio teaches Ellen Page about dreams and their minds and the sidewalk starts to curl over and onto them. You just can’t think of anything else but the bad and hopeless.

It starts to get incrementally better on the morning of the fourth day. I start to notice the things around me atleast. The air. The food. The sunlight. At this point, I can usually power through the day by exercising and breaking a sweat, drowning myself in overly happy or Motivational music (oddly, Jay-Z ‘s Heart of the City- “sensitive thugs, y’all need hugs.” Awww. best line ever.”), or reading a really engrossing novel that isn’t depressing in nature. Unless something bad happens on this day, I’m fine by the fifth day.

I made the mistake of reading Flowers for Algernon on the fourth day. It was bad. It also didn’t help that my mom was pestering me with senseless BS. That carried out the depression for a good long while. Just when I was getting better, I went to Shanghai and lost an entire night’s worth of sleep on the return. I got sick but had no physical symptoms. I just knew I wasn’t feeling good. This was the moment why Shifu is Shifu. He took one look at me and knew something was wrong. He got one of the Bros to take my pulse and figured something in my body was not balanced. 5 packs of TCM, one pack thrice a day. I’m on the third one now and I feel considerably better. I already felt myself getting better after the first day because I slept so soundly that night. Chinese Traditional Medicine for you.

It comes and goes in waves. I don’t remember having this when I was younger. But it probably has something to do with my childhood /family and my relationships since these two things constantly come up in my thoughts and in the dreams of what little sleep I get. I first noticed this when I was in Hong Kong, inundated by work but brushed it off. The worst of it, I think was first semester of senior year. I had just broken up, the pressure to find an investor for the business; the stress of paying back the loan amount, my mom constantly breathing down my back all came down on me. It also didn’t help that two guys in my social group at Claremont constantly made fun of the down mood I was in and talked behind my back about it. Luckily I had the sun. Seriously, if it wasn’t sunny in SoCal, it probably would have gotten a lot worse.

I think it will be better now. I’m able to write about it at least. I can tell when im starting to get into that phase so it helps me manage it better. Exercise, work, sun and sleep. Watching the entire second season of House of Cards probably helped too. Blogging about the past has had a considerably positive effect. It’s helped me move on from alot of stuff psychologically. Would not have realized this without the 500 words a day exercise thanks to Dan. I still can’t write freely about my relationships and my family. Not sure if I ever will or need to. I thought I could but every time I try it sets me back considerably. I think I’ve learned to simply manage it better. After all, Gandalf once said something something something… all comes to pass… Something something something.

Here’s a picture of pikachu.

                             

Thinking of HK

It’s going to be three years since I studied abroad in Hong Kong. Going abroad was probably one of the best decisions I ever made in college. It was such a short time but probably one of the best.

I wish I didn’t take so many classes, but at the same time I’m also glad I did. The anthropology class was probably one of the best. Magic, Myth, and the supernatural. It was incredibly interesting because I knew it was a class that Claremont would never offer. I also came from touring mountains and visiting hermits in China. The stuff that I saw are much too fairy tale for this blog but it was kind of exciting to see the academic explanation for some of it. The particular section of Daoist mystics and high priests was hilarious. The professor showed a clip of Taiwanese Daoist monastic and interviewed some of them. They asked if the monastics really believed in those “powers”. They said they do but what they were doing specifically was symbolic but they believed for certain that there was indeed another priest or monk who definitely had those powers. When I heard that, I felt like it was a game of he said, she said. Oh hilarious. Unfortunately not all of my classes counted for credit though it did allow me to take an easier elective senior year second semester. I also got to take two classes upon returning. Then again, I would have graduated a year earlier had I planned it better and stopped listening to my mom.

I also wish I saved enough money for more food. Sure I was a vegetarian, but not a strict one. I splurged once or twice, or ten times on really good non-vegetarian food. But there was just so much more that I could have eaten. So much better food had I prepped ahead. Not that I didn’t eat a lot of good food there already – I think I ate the entire Honeymoon Menu…twice. When I went back in October, I was much more prepared but still lacked the coordination to figure out the left and the right roads from being flipped. It was extremely disorienting. I also didn’t have a large posse of foodies so it wasn’t as productive. When you have a whole group of people you can order a whole bunch of stuff so everyone can sample a little bit of everything.

I remember going to a Korean all you can eat BBQ in Mongkok during my CUHK semester. It was a shitton of really, really good food. Too bad I got diarrhea afterwards because I splurged on seafood and meat. But it was worth it. Bryce and I would have never found it if there wasn’t a local student that was chill enough to lead us there. We went in a massive group of 15+,20 people. Usually people there eat two rounds and are full and leave. By the near end of the second round, the waiters were starting to stand by the table, ready to clean up our tables because we had taken up so many seats. Too bad. We all got up for a third round. Then a fourth. After that the waiters just gave up and pretty went about their own business. I think in totally we went for 6 rounds of food.

I’d really like to go back to Hong Kong and understand more of the local culture. I stayed at a fairly comfortable zone in HK and didn’t really push myself out of the zone to discover new places and do things that I wasn’t used to. It may have had to do with my workload, which I think was a cause of my slight depression. There was an entire month that I just didn’t have time to do anything outside except work. It made me really sad because there I was abroad and not experiencing what I was there to do. Facebook and its mocking highlight reel certainly didn’t help. I definitely asked myself what I was doing there at all. Luckily I figured out how useful music was. This was when I realized how drowning myself in music helped change my mood and my productivity. Every time I felt myself procrastinating or unmotivated to get my work done, I took a for 20 or so minutes and blasted myself with a playlist of get-shit-done. Til this day I still remember how there was a stretch of 2 weeks where I had absolutely productivity. I’m also glad that Evin was there with me. Us, scheming away at our entrepreneurial plots. Thank goodness for good friends.