Saturday, November 4, 2017

Meditation Through Writing

First, just so that I can remember this in the days to come - November 3rd, 2017 is the day I got my first new laptop, that I have purchased with my own money for myself - and I am liking it very much right now. In fact, typing on it is rather pleasant, and I have been using the laptop to continue my journey that is NaNoWriMo 2017 - with my next novel in progress, Memento Mori.


Compared to Blacktongue, this book is about a shade darker - telling the story of seeking the meaning of life, death, and everything in between. Without the historical backup to crank the words with, I had to take 'show, don't tell' to the extreme, fleshing out every single detail as I play a pretend-movie of the novel inside my head. Which is in fact, quite accurate on what I visualize this to be (in my head, not in the future) - some sort of a feature movie accompanied by no less than the soundtrack that has inspired this story, after all. 

It was the original project for Nano 2016, however apart from being so occupied by APS and other matters; I simply felt like it wasn't the right time to write about a novel like that yet - I didn't have the right experience. The year of darkness was the perfect time for me to gain the experineces needed to flesh out the excruciating details that are required for the novel - and also give it the current planned ending that does not invalidate all the character's suffering. This year, writing this book seemed natural to me. That is, if I can persevere through the end! 

This activity won't work though outside of November really, but I have found that meditation through writing - or at least taking other stuff off the mind and giving writing the 100% focus it needs, is a really rewarding activity and with a bonus that is at the end of the month, you get your own novel!

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Cause Bigger than Ourselves

Why do I write? It's so that others can read my writing and hopefully get something out of it.

Why do I read? It's so that hopefully I can get something out of it to tell others.

Why do I gain experience? So I can tell others to not make the mistakes I've made.

Why do I research? So others can build on it to do awesome things.

Why do I study? So I can hopefully teach others the same one day.

Why do I live? So others can live more meaningfully through me.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

when every leaf


when every leaf is also a flower


when every trail is a detour 


when every sunset is also another day wasted

Sunday, September 24, 2017

共勉之




難波津に 咲くやこの花 冬ごもり いまを春べと 咲くやこの花

"After lying dormant all winter, now the spring has come and the flowers are blossoming" 


Relentlessly, you 
trudged on for your Ph.D
through light and darkness

    For you believed time will tell
    that truth will always prevail

Relentlessly, you
continue redefining
your path and your dreams

    For you believed that knowledge
    has no limits and no bounds

Relentlessly, you
keep on trying and trying
to prove to yourself

    That you are worthy of what
    they gave and entrust to you

Relentlessly, you
through others' punishing eyes
steeled your own resolve

    Held on to your ideals of
    pursuing research in science

Relentlessly, you
now have twenty-five years of
life with no regrets

    As sure as the Sun will rise
    you will continue to fight!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

倒想


“追不到的梦想 换个梦不就得了”
J先生说得淋漓彩色 哪有这么容易的选择

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

fuccboi

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting, indoor and food

State fair 2012 vs State fair 2017. Five years of Minnesota turned me into a fuccboi.

Or did it?

In many respects I felt like nothing has ever changed on me. Habits, weaknesses, hobbies, quirks. Sure, I can now do engineering (supposedly) or do fancy layzer experiments, but otherwise it's still same old. Although now I could cook better and ride my bicycle longer, and also have a novel to my name.

What's different is probably on the inside. On the left, a yung boi full of ridiculous hopes for the future, like joining the space travel industry building rockets and shit after obtaining the all-empowering Bachelors of Aerospace Engineering ticket. On the right, an oldboi who runs experiments in the basement, talks about biking and drinking, and is currently reading a product design and management textbook for his Carlson School of Management class this fall. Oh, and also a sunglasses + polo wearing fuccboi.

Three years of chasing dreams, one year of counting my blessings, one year of hating everything. As I ride coolly into campus tomorrow morning it would be my sixth year of being on campus and my tenth semester of taking classes - even my time in Yu Hua my secondary school was five years only. I can only hope that the sixth year might inject some renewed enthusiasm in me, with the product design class and the impossible project. Either way by the end of next June I'll have a Masters in hand, and we'll see where that brings me.

One more thing that never changes is the posting time of all these rants, always in the a.m., always the night cat. Some things do never change.

Friday, September 1, 2017

5x5

In 23 days I'll be turning 25. 25 years old.

Will it be a new beginning? Or will it be just another day?

My path still remain fixed and consistent for now. It's a dream job for me as a kid, without all the extra baggage I didn't think of at that time. But it's nothing compared to anyone who is actually working.

Starting a new project this fall, kinda excited but also wary, now that I know a little more of how things that can go wrong will go wrong.

The rain has passed and I have come to embrace the Sun. Doing a little reading, a few books; it's still amazing how masterfully crafted words can evoke emotions and grandness. A new author to take note of goes by the name Han Kang, her newest book is by far the most memorable one I've read recently.

My novel idea has changed again. A potential story struck me while in the shower and it's ten times more interesting than my previous idea. This November it remains to be seen if I will pick up the noble quest of writing again, although I certainly want to. Blacktongue has certainly reached a conclusion, but any reviews I get from that book will go to my new one ( I haven't received any yet though).

Kids my age are slaving over work and shit nowadays, and I'm writing a fucking novel in my free time. This is really the best job I'll ever have, and I probably should appreciate it more and utilize the relative freedom wisely.

It's weird being 25. I certainly didn't try to plan for my life right now, or even past college. The moment I got my degree life is a runaway train heading to god knows where. The train just somehow found the PhD track, and I guess it's now staying on it for a little while.

25. Twenty-five. Damn.




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Totality


These aren't the best picture of the total solar eclipse but it is mine.

Totality was out of this world. At 95%, the sky darkens all around the horizon. The sky is dark but shadows are sharp. Contrast is ramped up in your vision. Shadows started being distorted, and the temperature drops. Venus starts to appear in the sky.

Then, the Moon completely swallows the Sun up - and that's when the Sun shows its true brilliance with its corona. Jets of the solar corona shines magnificent in defiance of the Moon stealing his glow. The sky is dark with stars, and where the sun was there is now a hole in the sky! This was a scene that I heard and seen pictures about multiple times, but to experience it firsthand is a totally different encounter. Finally, the Diamond Rings appear, and thunderous applause fill the air while the moon exits the Sun and the sky brightens up again.


I wasn't going to try imaging but changed my mind at the last minute. I have a very rudimentary setup but all that matters is that I saw the total eclipse. My faithful Canon 550D and kit lens was zoomed way up - making the scenery shot impossible as I realized halfway through the eclipse, so I had to make do with some heavily cropped zoom-ins. Not that I'm complaining - Grand Island Nebraska was heavily clouded on the south the whole partial phase, and we got a very lucky break in the clouds during the critical time of totality. It's nothing short of a miracle that we get to see the eclipse at all.


My eyes welled up at the sight of the total solar eclipse, and my heart was crying out loud - here it is! For how many years I've longed for this sight, reading and listening about the experience short of seeing it on my own. The hole in the sky, the alien landscape, Baily's Beads, Diamond Ring, Coronal Jets, it's like a fairytale come to life. In the vast emptiness of the Universe, three bodies formed a line with the correct spacing between one another, and I am heartily treated to the most amazing sight of the Solar System.

The Moon's shadow has left me, and I returned to daily life and its struggles. But the memory of that day still uplifts me and helps me to welcome equally that which delights and that which crushes. In the middle of darkness the Sun reveals its invincible corona, with temperatures of a million degrees and jets that dwarfs any planets or Earthly innovations. I shall persist, for I have now gained a burning determination as strong as the magnificent Sun.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

There's still no way I can sleep before midnight

Despite how I try, even if I wake up super early in the morning, which doesn't happen very often, I still find myself having the biggest trouble going to sleep between the hours of 10pm-2am. If anything my brain is on fireworks, I get real hot and keep tossing and turning on the bed until I give up and head to the kitchen for another glass of water. This is me, it hasn't changed since ten years ago, and not five years ago either.

Speaking of five years ago it would make exactly five years now since I've stepped foot on another continent that was gonna be my home for five years now. The tune of Gangnam Style filled the air, as thousands of freshmen and transfer students started thronging the campus including me and my fellow friends, some who are still here and some who have completed their journey here and moved on to the next step. Five years! That was how long it took to finish high school, and I just spent the same amount of time in this chilly state of Minnesota now. I can still smell the late summer air of the first days I was here; the sounds of new friends, new adventures, new furniture; everything was new and exciting and the future bright and limitless as the dazzling sun shining on the plains. Right now, as I sit here typing late into the night again, it really does seem like nothing much has changed. Knowledge and memories are obtained - but habits stay the same.

The last of the siblings is also finally leaving to start his own journey, his choice being the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Remembering how much excitement it was to start anew in a new place, I wish that my brother would also find this welcoming excitement too!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Syzygy

I wonder if it's coincidence that the day of the Total Solar Eclipse is almost exactly five years after my arrival in Minnesota. It's like, I have to endure five winters before I am granted a *chance* to witness the spectacle of a lifetime.


Eclipse fever also brings me back to the days of frantically chasing stars and celestial objects. I especially had some interest in the Sun itself, it's subject having the uber-cool long title of magnetohydrodynamics. For several months I hounded on a textbook from the library but never really got past the first chapter. Nevertheless, I still think the topic of observing, researching, modelling the Sun and coming up with new solar theories would be the greatest job ever.

Strolling in the library this evening, I also chanced upon the space exploration books that I just absolutely adored during my undergraduate life. Looking back five years ago I was a young, beaming 20 year old so eager to learn all about space and orbits and all that's​ out of the world. I would have read the books cover to cover despite not understanding a single word probably. But over the years I've​ for better or for worse, have returned to Earth and down to Physics - the reason supposedly being that all this space stuff just involves a lot of controls which is not 'the real science' to me. In fact I would not call myself an engineer really because of my reluctance for controls and optimization - I'm more of a scientist, seeking equations and theories, and sometimes tinkering in the lab.

However, the Sun is out there, and it also has fluids, which is my job and also what I deal with day to day. Choosing between computers and big computers was also a challenge, but eventually I decided that tinkering is more my thing. Just like how I decided that I really don't like accounting back in 2008 despite not having learnt shit about it. But I can't have a rotating reacting ball of plasma in Room 9 Akerman, so I have no choice but to leave it to the big computer guys. Also something I learnt over the years is even your most favorite subject becomes a drag if you have it as a class, or even as your full-time research topic. For now, I am quite fine being secretly in love with MHD and the Sun - without even having used Maxwell's equations for real before.

I think I have finally made peace with myself over school. Sure it sucks right now, but it would suck just as much at any research lab that I could've be in - some advisor horror stories are way worse. And it would suck ten times more if I'm in some jackass industry, five times if I'm working on airplanes. Of course spacex or jpl would be bomb, but to do that I need to get real lucky too. For what's it worth right now and in the future, I work and study in a university, I'm a scientist working on physics, I work in a basement laboratory - isn't this what I have always dreamed of since like forever? Plus I get to stay up late, I can still play the piano and read and write books in my free time, as well as rant into this blog of mine.

Looking at the stars that illuminated my path and guided where I am today, I must say that I am kind of a lucky bastard. I explored and chose my own path mostly, with the help of a few coincidences and helpful people. Speaking of coincidences for the last time, in seven days I'll be at a magical place with the Sun and the Moon lining up upon me, which is the most amazing of coincidences - a syzygy.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A New Beginning

A new home, in an actually quiet part of town away from campus, with more than one room to accommodate a study and a bedroom separate from the living room. 

A swanky new kitchen, with brand new appliances we found to our delight, and enough room to fit a dining table which I've always longed for. 

A new life, centered around nature, neighbors and nourishment; not just a place to sleep and eat, but also to heal, meditate and enjoy. 

I am still a cranky graduate student, but for this moment I am satisfied. 



Friday, July 28, 2017

Eternal Summer


Even if you're a selfless kind of person, turns out sometimes it's easier to think about being contributive to your country, than to be contributive to the world.

What am I doing here?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Didn't Take Long

... for me to yet stumble upon another encroachment by the tentacles of technology. The tentacles have went right into our wallets.

Give me a large image banner that says Prime Student Free Trial, and a big yellow button that says Get Started; one click, and my card is charged $49. What were the fine print? Does it even matter? There is not even a purchase confirmation for the transaction, just a stealthy 'yay! You are now prime stud' and a quiet charge on your bank account. I am so done with Amazon, the account is going to be closed right after all my righteous monies are refunded.

Consumer protection on the Internet needs some law, like requiring the purchase confirmation page for all transactions, or requiring you to key in your secret password or three numbers on the back of your card. Most websites do have that system, with the popular exception of the one-click order and apparently now, one-click membership. I am so pissed at you right now Amazon, you have lost a customer today and have gained an opponent out to destroy your one-click purchase button. Take note, and beware.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tentacles of Technology

Fuming, I uninstalled FB messenger from my phone, vowing to never let it on my phone again.

Just a few hours ago I was waken up by a video chat request from someone I have never seen for years, or even talk to. I did not take the call, as per my usual social interaction level. You can only call me if you have my phone number, and that is if I gave you mine. Distance is not an issue, WhatsApp can let you call anyone in the world if you have their phone number. But FB skips that entirely, you can call anyone you want as long as you're FB friends. Even if you haven't interacted in years, you only met once at some summer camp and never since. It doesn't matter to FB. Bitch, my phone my rules. I choose who can call me and who cannot call me.

And they won't fucking let you choose to stop receiving calls! Rant end. Bye FB messenger, you won't be missed.

Even a few months ago I still had the FB app on my phone, but I have smartly disabled push notifications from them. However, the app took 600MB of storage out of my measly Nexus, and you know that Google paraphernalia takes up like another 1GB. Didn't take me much resistance to remove the app then. Also suspicious is the numerous permissions that you have to grant the apps in order to use them, so they can do their gimmicks such as going 'live'. The best thing is when I was scrolling FB on the bathroom throne as usual, and my finger goes ahead and click on the FB live button. Congrats guys, my first live video is going to be me pooping! Thankfully that did not actually happen.

I remembered a day where the Internet was more of like an alternative place, where you could join message boards anonymously, pursue interests that no one around you has, or just write about your thoughts on the www like this. When the smartphone came around, everything changed in a matter of months, the turning point being something like 2011 I believe when everyone started checking in into places and playing pretend mayor. Phones are now seamlessly integrated into the Internet, and the Internet to real life.

I would have been okay with it, it's technology catching up after all except that the companies in California are now pretty much forcing you into the world that they have created. Examples are abound on your phone, on your computer... With the computers forcing updates on you now as well, sooner or later we will have our whole lives being run by G, M, and FB. Resist the system, and they might as well deprive you of your income source, or even the basic necessities. The wild territories of Linux might as well be our last redoubt against them. Maybe right now I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but know that when I couldn't find the option to disable receiving calls, my chest has tightened as if I was choked by otherworldly forces - which in this case happened to be the tentacles of FB.

The tentacles of technology are creeping into every nook and corner of our lives, and our freedom of choice and liberty are being choked to death by its unrelenting grasp.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Invincible

Third post of the month, fuck yeah.


On the other side of the Internet I have just sheepishly announced that I have completed a 50-mile bike ride (that's 80km for you people in the rest of the world). They say that people who post their fitness activity on FB are crazy, so guess what that's me.

But truthfully, biking is already my thing for as long as I can remember. And being in the bicycle capital of Minneapolis, I find myself on miles and miles of trails, pushing my bike and myself to the limits, seeing how far can I go from the city (and also make it back). 50-mile bike rides are the limit for me right now, but that is way beyond what I expected from myself long ago. The longest ride I've been so far was a trip to a quaint little town called Stillwater, 25 miles out west and half an hour by car. I make that trip once a year since 2015, and #stillwater2k17 is actually scheduled for this Sunday, weather permitting.

Research is hard, and I have not found my limit break just yet. There is a certain barrier, similar to what I experienced with Add Maths in 2008, that is preventing me from reading between the equations to see the beauty underneath, or even to just use said equations correctly. I don't know what it is, but I know it's there. And this is also the challenge I have to overcome if I aspire to be part of the academic intellectuals of fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer. It's very taxing on the mind, and peer pressure and imposter syndrome does not help one bit. But with my dogged determinations I will persevere, just like I always did in facing challenges past.

There is at least one more soul out here recently on the wasteland of Blogspot, and yes I follow all your blogs if you have one. While I know all is well and success stories are aplenty for you on the other side of the Internet, to hear good thoughts on this end as well is very comforting. We all want to present our best sides to impress strangers and not to make our friends worry, but sometimes we build up facades that are too elaborate and exhausting to keep up.

It's the latter half of July 2017, and all I wish is to make good on my promise to myself - to do my best, but also to treat myself better. Trudging through the murky abyss of research, and remembering to periodically look up to the brilliant sunshine and surrender myself to the invincible summer - the season of comfy shorts, fast rides, cool dips in the lakes; scenic hikes, shaved ice, lying down under starry skies.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Midsummer Night Ranting

2017 has seen the revival of this blog, partly because I found out how easy it is to write a short post on my phone. I have no idea who else reads these other than me because I don't promote my posts anymore on FB, so there's a certain level of anonymity which permits more truthful writing.

Since coming back from my short excursion I have had a few realizations. Sure, working in the big US is glamour, but can't beat being able to see your family on the weekends, or even every day. Some of our folks over here don't even go back for years, I wonder how they stand with it. Also, some of my friends back home are working, directly or indirectly on some of the biggest mega projects in the country which impacts almost everyone. Talk about having an impact with your work - at least I am doing some research that *should* benefit everyone in the world. If you work for a company that only benefits the rich and further marginalize the poor, would be hard to get me excited.

But the position I'm currently having is probably being coveted by at least 100 other people in the world and they would just end their current careers if offered the opportunity. It is not a trivial job indeed. Anything I do discover in the end is gonna make some good impact on the future. And companies that marginalized the poor, that's what capitalism is all about, and that's how they recruit the "best and brightest" and somehow that probably means me as well.

Maybe this place is just so oxymoronic like that, a place that is able to paint a rooster blue and call it art. Yeah, just like that.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer Soliloquy

Back to school, work, and days of staring at Matlab.

All is green here, the summer breeze graces the land. The nights are not as stuffy, but it is definitely lonelier without dear family around.

Saw a friend's posting about being excited for her interview. I mean, that's great, but after my short trip I remain undecided over my future plans. It is where my friends and family and people I care about are. But then, I might just be looking through the rose-tinted glasses of being on holiday. The trip home was a good nostalgic grand tour, but it also awoken me to the harsh reality of how things have changed since I left five years ago.

I might take a wildcard product design and business development class to seek some new experiences next year. But it can still be changed, but for now I am of the opinion that the experience is worth the trouble. Maybe it was the influence of my friends, that I am also seeking new experiences other than my experimental fluid mechanics games. We are also starting up a new project soon, so I would have to take that into account.

I have been trying to sleep early for my health, but we'll see if I can keep this schedule during the school year. The new rubber pillows definitely helps though!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Nostalgia Grand Tour Pt.2


Managed to request for a picture this time, of friends that we never met for 7 years, or more.

What's special is that we were all in the same class in the first year of middle school, in 2005. It was a new environment, exposed to new things and making new friends which happens to be each other. Together we talked about PS1 games and soccer, among other things that are of utmost concern to the 13 year old kids at that time. But because of the school system, classes get rearranged every year and we did not get to be in the same class for the whole 5 years of secondary school. Nevertheless we managed conversation quite easily, and I revel in the sense of familiarity that was created through our banter.

One of them is my anime grandmaster, and the one who made me watch anime in the first place. For better or for worse anime kinda defined my school life from 15 yo through completion of A-levels (made obvious by my anime blog posts of old). Naturally much time was spent on discussing the anime shows of new and old, using it as a medium to transport ourselves back in time to the days where all we cared about is what's going to happen in the next episode of Shakugan no Shana.

We also used to talk about many other things, such as games and culture and life. However we lost touch over the years after graduation happened, despite being such close friends throughout school life. That is why I am so glad to see him, we haven't met for the past 7 years, and I have not heard from him until recently. I can only wish you good health and smooth sailing, and I am also at peace knowing that you are doing well.

Among this gang there is also a budding businessman and also a piano maestro trapped in the shell of an accountant right now, which means that they are also heavily busy wading through their lives and I greatly appreciate them making time to meet a fellow former classmate and friend who is climbing the formidable mountain of the PhD. I can only wish them the best of chances and the strength to push on when the eventual challenge arrives, for it would only make the victory much sweeter.

To all the other people whom I've crossed paths with in life and haven't had the chance to rejoin this time, I am deeply regretful and I do hope that somewhere in the unpredictable future, we have the chance to meet up once again and support each other on this journey. From this tour I realized that I am in fact blessed to have so many true friends, and for that I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart.


"If you get stuck in the memories of those times, you won't be able to appreciate all the fun that's happening right now. So don't be thinking "that time was fun", because you should be thinking "that time was also fun" ... Being able to find the fun that's happening right now, is the best way to enjoy the present."


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nostalgia Grand Tour

In the barren wastelands of the blogspot, some quick updates on my nostalgia grand tour.

At first it was the pink house gang, where we exchanged many updates about friends and reminiscences about spending many winter days in a certain magical snowy place over a hot pot dinner. Picture is obviously not mine.


Then, the high school friends came along. The first night, there were two others, and we were talking about going on trips to Bangkok and inevitably also about the days in high school. The second night, there were more, and the trash talking commences, but it was infinitely more meaningful now compared to the mindless banter we used to do in high school. Then, I suggested going for alcoholic goodness at my house the third night, and that was the day we did not sleep.

Many stories have been exchanged that night, including how we probably ruined a chance for one of us to have a fulfilling love life, to discussing of how biased we used to be in high school towards society, and also our adventures in high school that are memorable (and some that were undesirable). How goals and dreams were pursued, albeit doggedly, constantly facing blows and setbacks from society and the unstoppable flow of time. This was also where we talked heart-to-heart and stumbled upon some wise realizations, some of which I have inscribed in the bottom of this post.

 

Immediately after, another meeting with pink house, this was the only picture I have which was the beer that I drank. Hopefully this is enough prompt for me to remember the conversations we had when I read this post many years later. Found out that two different friends work at the same area under the same umbrella project, that was a very useful coincidence. Started playing a game towards the end, but the restaurant was closing so we were kicked out. The silence was strong at first, but pretty soon conversation flows smoothly just like this pint of Kilkenny.




I have also met up with a friend that I haven't seen for a very long time - in the order of 10 years or more. He goes way back to the days where we lived in a house right next to the beach. Sharing the same engineering research background as I am, we discussed lots about work and less about the past, my memories being slightly hazy and needs some jogging anytime we mentioned someone we knew from the distant past. That was a highly fruitful trip deep down memory lane, and pictures just don't do them justice.

There might be more stop for this nostalgia grand tour, or not, depending on the availability of everyone who intends to meet one more time before I depart this Saturday. Also, I'm very bad at remembering to take pictures, and I really should do that for the remaining meetups because god knows when I will ever see them again. But it is the conversations that I somehow have to etch into my mind, and I have plenty that I would like to keep. Maybe I'll inscribe some down here:

"Live life with no regrets. You chose your path based on the knowledge you had at that time, and you chose what you think was best for yourself. There is nothing to blame and to be resentful of."
"If the two choices are hard to decide, it's because they're both good."
"In the end, it's you yourself who you can rely on the most, and if you know that you are reliable you will get by no matter what."
"Cuddling is a slippery slope that leads to a salty surprise."
These meetings gave me a chance to look back without a tinge of regret, and even learn new things about myself and each other in the process. I treasure every moment of these gatherings, and look forward to many more.

Friday, June 23, 2017

On this day

Almost 10 years on Facebook, and the most useful feature so far they can give me is the "On this day" function. I wait for the clock to strike midnight everyday just for the sake of viewing what I did on this day, one year ago, two years ago,...

However, as I said my Facebook only goes back to 2010 at most, when I actually started using it. The days before 2010 are a black hole of time, an insurmountable darkness of hazy memories of my high school life (not that it was horrible, but I just can't remember anything apart from family trips). That is, until I found my journals from 2006 through 2010, in my old bedroom, hidden inside a cupboard from prying eyes.

These journals are national treasure to me, the most important written records of my high school existence. For some time even I religiously wrote in every day, so I can actually do an "on this day" on some years like 2007. Looking back 10 years ago I was infinitely more carefree and hopeful, the issues of those days being nothing else other than games, classes, crushes. My brother asked if I want it disposed, but I'm just glad those journals lasted so long. Reading those journals bring me back to a time, where I can smell the dampness of a sweaty secondary school, listen to voices of people I haven't met in years (almost a decade for some), and relieve my state of mind back then, a cheerful and optimistic 15-year-old.

Further back, I once had a comic series that I drew for my primary school classmates and siblings that went from 2003 through 2006. It's not a true journal per se, but the stuff I've drawn in reflected my experiences​ during that time, as well as the general Zeitgeist of those bygone days. Most importantly, 2003 is the last year I lived in my hometown of Kerteh, and reading those comics brought me back to the days where me and my family lived in a big house by the South China Sea. Beyond that, I would have to rely on memories and family picture albums, which is kind of a luxury when you live reallllllly far away from your parents' house.

This blog goes way back to 2008, and likewise I have no intention of removing anything I wrote since the early days of this blog. If you would like to be amused, it's all yours to read.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

素晴らしい世界


阳光普照的大地  丛草见油绿
花瓣风中起旋律  香味起写意
面对未来会恐惧  往事绊着你
放下困忧少焦虑  轻松走下去
人生属于你自己  旁人不用理
做你喜欢的东西  让自己满意
偶尔停下叹口气  创造好回忆
素晴らしい世界  全都送给你



Monday, April 24, 2017

Novelling


So, a few days ago I just received a shipment of none other than my first edition novel that I wrote in 2015, my first attempt at Nanowrimo as well as the first time I tried to write a novel. It is titled Blacktongue - interweaving historic Malaya, modern mystery, and ancient folklore all in one. An ambitious project, though the idea didn't come to mind until at most one month before the writing project started.

Well, the rough draft was churned out at the end of November 2015. It was a warm pile of dung, with some kind of a story lying underneath. It took me more than a year to get back to editing it, with some regrets. In the midst of last winter break, I finally took the first step and revisited my creation. Even then it took three months to edit the story to satisfaction, and then only by mid-April was I finally satisfied with what's would be the first edition, and bravely sent it out to print.

I printed 15 copies with intention to sell 11. By the end of the second day, 9 was booked with two already delivered. The feeling when I delivered a book is beyond indescribable, especially when they hand over the cash to me! Wow, people are actually buying this shit! Now just don't get your hopes up too high, and you won't be disappointed! Haha! Some old friends contacted me and asked for my book when I return as well, a good opportunity to visit some old friends. Simpson being the true fan bought four copies right away.

After starting one book I am certainly now itching to write another one. However, the right story has to be found - even before I can find the time for it. Nanowrimo 2016 almost had me start another novel project, but I didn't start so that hopefully I can use the idea another year. But eventually, I ditched the idea - the premise was too cliche, I was trying too hard to make it work, and to make it match some songs that I had in mind - in short, thinking about that idea became to stressful to be fun to write about. At this time, "Memento Mori" as the working title is called has been canned, with certain parts potentially reusable in future works.

With the coincidence of the APS fluids conference being on the same month as Nanowrimo I'm not so sure of doing the challenge anymore. Instead, I'll choose a month maybe during the summer when there's slightly more free time, and make my own draft-in-a-month challenge. Inspired by a few friends, a new concept has been shaping up in my head, and I'm kinda terribly excited to start it. For now, I'll share the pre-work synopsis and rough cover to start with, that's fair game to share and also this blog is just obscure enough that only the people who really wants to see it, will see it. Without further ado, I present:


After her final medical exams, Geetha Nadia Ramasamy celebrated by traveling to Jakarta... and beyond. Desperate to see the world before she gets tied down in real life, her escapades led her to experience the most beautiful of landscapes, of love; and the ugliest of man, of greed. Nevertheless, this is the world she lives in, and she loved​ it down to every single bit. 

Stay tuned for more!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

All I ask

One way to know that you have truly changed, is by re-watching a show from 5 years ago, but evoking a completely different feeling this time round. (Warning: Steins;Gate spoiler ahead)

5 years ago, never experiencing true love, I allowed the impact of this scene to fly over my head. But now, after having been through heart wrenching goodbyes at train stations, at airports; now I fully understand the pain of the departure of one's true love. The boulder residing in your chest, the tears struggling to break free, the urge to hold each other a little longer, even if only for a minute...


"Whenever you're sitting around in the lab, 
Whenever you're drinking our favorite drink,
Whenever you take a walk around town,
Whenever you kiss someone someday...
It doesn't have to be every time.
Once in a hundred times is fine.
All I ask is that you remember me,
Because I'll be there...
I'll always be there, beyond the 1% barrier..."

I'll be hugging my sunshine a little tighter tonight.



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

To my sunshine

If there is one thing I learnt in my formative years here, it's what I learnt about unconditional love from someone not related to you, met thousands of miles away from home, and what it takes to love you unconditionally as well.


We met on a cold windy day on the ballooning trip, and soon found each other in solar car again. Between many conversations on the campus connector I begin to enjoy your presence, and very soon can't get enough of them. I just had to wait until three days before I'm leaving to ask for your heart, but you still reciprocated.


Our shared love for books and stars weren't enough to just carry us through - that we have learnt. I learnt from you compassion, to keep calm and separate work from life - work does not define you. And your perseverance, to learn Chinese and watch Chinese shows, especially the trashy one where I was laughing the whole time you were watching it. Together you brought me new experiences that wouldn't have had alone - biking 60 miles to Stillwater, after dinner ice cream with Mr Bean, movies and orchestras and theater shows, scouring art festivals, walking in the park and finding your favorite owl pellets, roasted marshmallows with your family on summer nights, running across the Stone Arch Bridge in the sunset.


Every day is a miracle, a new experience with you. I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world, my beacon of light that guides me through rough waters to the shore. My heart only yearns for more.

Monday, February 27, 2017

To dreams faded and hopes lost


In a bout of nostalgia I combed through all the diary entries on this blog a few days ago, as well as the entries on the now defunct club blog of Stargazer Society MCKL. Dreams of spacecraft building, rockets and space exploration, so feverish during my late teenage years and basically the reason I came here to the U of MN.

There were rockets and spacecraft projects here. I did a rocketry project, just once. The ballooning experiments, probably one of the closest thing you can get to build-and-launch, was not in my radar of attempt, being too busy with the solar car. For better or for worse, my attention drifted to more down-to-earth things, like fluid flow, modeling, and machining stuff. Then, on my fourth semester, I got roped into an experimental fluid research projects, which I am still working on until this day.

Which is fair, kind of, considering that if you look way further back, space exploration was a fleeting, even though it was a burning interest. The prevailing theme was physics, and now I am doing fluid physics, although experimentally and with the approach of an engineer. Still, in my last year of school, I decided to pursue a Mars mission design project, and learnt a lot in a wide field which I will almost never have the chance to participate in the near future. Today, I am the fox declaring that the grapes are sour, but to be fair the fox had no chance at the grapes no matter how he tries. Well, the fox digresses.

Before I started university I already realized - that any job I take will mean nothing to me, unless if I can think of it as some kind of service, no matter how high the pay is, or how hyped-up the job title is. Being a tutor this year reminded me of my conviction again - when the student says thank you at the end of the lab the feeling is indescribable. On the research side gratification comes much slower, in theory you are contributing knowledge to society, or at least to people who care what particles do in a turbulent flow. Sometimes, down in the basement it's very easy to lose sight of this.

Recently, environmentalism comes up to my mind often - as a field I want to contribute something to. With the temps rising and the political climate unsupportive, it certainly seemed like I missed the green bandwagon by a few years. However, the pollution is there, and has to be curtailed, the environment and human health are both at stakes. I learnt the effects of carbon soot on human lungs, and on DNA. Now we need to cut it, and fast. Just some random ideas and challenges I thought of:

  1. Retrofitting solar panels onto cars, to power air-conditioning for example, so that less gas is burnt up. 
  2. Come on guys, Perodua electric cars? Fully electric cars doesn't have to be the domain of Tesla. 
  3. Decomposable bags used for kitchen compost, that can actually rot in landfills. The other stuff should really be sorted and recycled. 
  4. Microfluidics in medicine is making a bang, with the early detection and lab on a chip stuff. Blood testing for diseases on a chip would definitely be cool. But in terms of curing people, there's still a long ways. 
  5. Improving energy harvesting, from the sun, from the wind, from tides - as long as it's not in a conveniently packaged hydrocarbon. 
Service and discovery, they are the key words. I just can't bring myself to make something just for the heck of it - compared to multiple people who crash their giant structures into the water in that Red Bull event. I also aspire to teach, and to innovate - guess I'm kinda doing some of that right now. No matter where I end up, these ideals will continue to shape and guide me throughout. 

Perhaps the answer I was looking for was already answered almost a year ago. There were many things, which some I decided and assume which I was given, that landed me in this exact place in this exact moment. Space exploration remain unreachable for now, but that doesn't mean what I'm doing now is trash. Even if rockets and spaceships won't carry me, I always have the two guiding stars of service and discovery, to illuminate and help me craft my path in this wonderfully transient journey in this beautiful world.

By the way, I don't think I mentioned this in the blog before, but I wrote a book in 2015! It is still rough and unfinished, but I have a book! Hopefully I get to actually polish it soon, and have everyone read and critique my maiden work.


To the dreams that faded and hopes that were lost, I found in myself once again, an invincible summer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Twilight at the end of the world


BEEP BOOP! ATTENTION EVERYONE, WE ARE ANNOUNCING THAT WE HAVE JUST GONE FULL CIRCLE!

Catching up with friends is hard now. Facebook nowadays are all news and more news. About the NK assassination, about the Clementines in Chief. Once in a blue moon I get to read some friend's self-boasting post about his or her career accomplishment, then it's back to clickbait, upworthy, "sponsored" posts. 

Ok, maybe I can try Instagram, at least there is less "sponsored" stuff there. Ok, vacation pics, cool, nice bikini. Or dogs. Or the picture of random stuff you took in a cafe and called it rustic. No, I wanna know what you're up to, what you're thinking and if you're having the same thoughts as me being 90s kids trying to be adults. 

Then I explore the ruins of what was once our playpen, where we divulge our true and raw feelings - the blogspot. The blog update bars is left frozen in time - "last updated, five years ago" - now that's prehistoric shit right there. Combing through past posts, we were all young once, blissfully enjoying one another's presence, although we did not realize it then. 

Whelp, I have now lost all hopes of reconnecting to you, and we will be stranger and further apart until the day we die. Unless, unless... If I talk to you, face to face?!?!?!? 

What a magnificent comeback! After 10 years of technology, the best way, no, the only way to reach someone is to fucking talk! Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby proudly announce that we have gone full circle. 

p.s. I am going to post rants like this here from now on, if stuff like this is to your fancy (or you have the same reasons as mentioned before for stalking my blogspot, creep.) Of course, if you wanna talk, I'm all ears. Anytime. 




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Untitled-2


"If you get stuck in the memories of those times, you won't be able to appreciate all the fun that's happening right now. So don't be thinking "that time was fun", because you should be thinking "that time was also fun" ... Being able to find the fun that's happening right now, is the best way to enjoy the present."

Sunday, January 22, 2017

博士

最近不知怎么又喜欢回来博客/部落格写散文了。

看回以前的一些po,还有几次有提过希望可以考取博士学位。当时我是立志物理系的,发梦要读物理粒子学等研究。后来,患了天文发烧后,选了航天工程系,要研究火箭,卫星等宇航科技 。

大学第一二年,被说辣卡的朋友影响,发现了固体、流体学之有趣之事,也被说服了读研是浪费时间。宇航之梦,后来来到美国之后被通知非美籍人是不会被录取的,就算是博士可能性也超低,我也把梦丢放一边了。大学第一个暑假在飞机设计公司实践,经验其实还不错的。

大学第四个学期,有个叫費绿保的人来到学校,请了我做流体实验研究。流体研究有实验,电脑分析两行,当然实验是比较费时的。第二个暑假就送给了費绿保,还好有领薪,好让我到处旅行。但是,近朱者赤,近墨者黑,慢慢地我被費绿保拐进这门黑暗的世界。

现在,读的是博士,但还是要考过好多关先。读的是是物理,但是物理流体学。部门是航天系,但是研究比较适合化学工程,自然界系的吧。博士是少时的梦想,但现在犹豫不决。在黑暗的实验室里,有时候在想是不是辜负了当年的梦,往最方便的路走了。做流体实验的,未来也不是说很光芒,想着跑掉会不会为自己更好。

曾经有一天,在考取学士学位后,为了宇宙梦,申请了好几间大学读研,攻读超音速热能突破大气层之类的研究。结果,除了他拉哈斯那家以外,一律不收。他拉哈斯去了,环境好差,真的住不了。研究也不是宇宙行的,倒是偏向炸弹等杀人机械的科技,本人不能接受。一路做了好多的选择,到最后能怪的只有自己。当时,費绿保是救命之星,把我调回明州。

博士啊博士。是不是我太懒,还是我对现在的研究真的一点兴趣都没有。总觉得大学时期好拼命,后来有点时间就不自在好像很浪费。不读博士,外界的工作大部分会更加无聊吧。十七岁的我若可以看见现在的房纪安,不知他会不会引我为荣。

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"I love traveling!"


Well who the fuck doesn't, ya special snowflake.

Actually though, nowadays I do get tired thinking of planning a trip. Gone were the undergrad days when I'm actively planning my next getaway the next school break comes. It's not a money problem, but more of not wanting to move my butt.

Maybe I visited all the places I wanted to visit in the US. The Pacific Northwest was my last trip, and back in the days I frequented the Southwest enough - visited LA thrice, SF twice, did all the touristy things you can think of. New York? One-of-a-kind but God it was such a busy place. I have no interest in Disney world either, so that kinda strike out Florida.

Maybe there are a couple spots. My last visit to the Grand Canyon was too brief to do its grandeur justice, so another trip would not be bad at all. Yellowstone is another potential spot, although the timing has to be good to avoid crowds. Closer to home, a canoeing trip at the Apostle Islands or a biking trip up North doesn't sound too bad in the summer.

But then you have to rent the car and book a hotel and plan your trip and how do you get your bike there or what are the places you wanna go did I miss a famous spot what if the hotels are booked out shits getting kinda expensive and I can only take a few days off is it legal to sleep in cars why am I still paying the fucking underage driving surchage?!

It does take a certain kind of determination to "love travelling". For now, maybe I'll just stick with the staycation option, thank you very much.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

时光机

有些歌好比时光机,一倾听就被带回十年去。



宁静的夜晚,开着冷气机,烫热的杯面。

小时的儿歌,我从未思念过。可能是儿时的歌都是长辈选听,所以也没有特别喜欢。青少年时的歌声,是起初的叛逆,自己特别的喜爱。在科技发达的花花世界,我发现了日漫,情有独钟。



唯美的音调,陪过了成长的挫折,漫长的童少年,尴尬的初恋;未来还是未知数,但也不需担忧,一天过一天,一年过一年。


然后,有一天,无知的我们毕业了。现实世界,一步一步地接近。能进学院与大学的幸运儿们,背着梦想和期望向前迈进。

进了学院,重新发掘天文的热爱;当然,歌曲也搭配了起来。



中学时没什么玩,在学院时竟搞了个天文学会,为了最灿烂的星空四处奔波,疯狂追星的知己,现在也寥寥无几。

五年前,侥幸的我,到了美国明市,为了航空工程学士寒窗苦读。身边一切焕然一新,处处可听韩国名歌《江南style》,真的,不是开玩笑。



然后,下雪了 -- 我最后看的动画,片尾曲成了我第一个冬天的主题曲。



大学功课又多又不简单,半夜三更赶功课的时候,《最终幻想》交响曲BGM最适合不过。从08年第一次玩的FFVI至现今,一路都有植松伸夫优美的创作陪伴。14年的暑假,坐了八小时的巴士奔往芝加哥两天一夜之旅,只为了一听现场的《最终幻想》的交响乐队,还感动得流泪了。

暑天的旁晚,在学校旁的密西西比大河,看着夕阳西下,这首最适合不过。



转眼间,过了三次冬季。学士学位在手,不知所措的又选择跑去读研。15年的夏天,在面对茫茫无际的未来,开始聆听珀特诺丙申的《世界》专辑,也只不过为了寻找当年的那一片感动。



乘上了时光机,少时的天真无邪,到中学毕业时的迷茫,到追星时的顽固立志,到大学时的寒窗苦读,到大学毕业后的又在迷茫,过去的一切还恍然在目。

今天,读研已经是第三个学期。赴美,已经是五年前的事,现在也过着第五次冬季。时光不留人,有亲人与世长辞,有些朋友办了双喜;自己也变了,好听说是成熟,难听说是悲观。宇宙梦已经不再,换来稳稳在地球上的流体力学。眼前朋友一个一个地投入工作,自己还在学校,不知是祸是福。

在这世上也算与好多朋友擦过扁见过面,遗憾的是没什么努力好好保持联络,大家请多多包涵。在未来的日子里,希望有缘再相见,一起来搭时光机。