Stuck in amber

I’ve had a lot of coffee too late into the night so I may as well not sleep. The unusual wakefulness at such a quiet hour has given me more “head-space”. It seems like the world is slightly emptier and I can here my silent reflection.

I keep thinking about those moments stuck in amber. Right now I’m thinking about last winter. It’s about mid February. I’ve got one¬†month of my lease left at 1212 S Michigan Ave; I’m in the twilight hours of my life in Chicago. I should’ve left the city¬†by now. I didn’t want to be there, yet I was too scared to leave. I just kept thinking that if I were to leave now, I’d miss something. There’s really nothing left in Illinois for me at that point. My relationship had just fizzled out in a very unsatisfying way. Partially by my own doing I suppose, but I’m thinking that my capricious choice of moving back to Los Angeles was not in fact a significant contributor to the breakup. Reasons don’t matter anymore. Looking back, I don’t think I felt as much sad as I felt tired and spent.

Anyway, back to my moment stuck in amber. Living at Tif’s place for a month with that idiot cat was such a mellow experience. Time sort of just melted away as we jacuzzi-ed the days away in the freezing cold.

Even hanging out at Steven’s place, as he tried in vain to make me pass some jUnit test cases to prep for an interview is hilarious in retrospect. I still hate eclipse by the way.

Getting Kenny to stop sleeping and do some squats with me was frustrating then, but is somehow funny now too. That and trying to get Antony to do some pull-ups.

Discovering that Yelee has a gigantic collection of mint, unwatched Blu-rays was great too.

So yes, I was right, if I had left Chicago any earlier, I would’ve missed these moments in amber.

The Northwest

The hype is super real and experience therapeutic. Early on I broke free of a funk that was stuck unto¬†me like cobwebs in an attic. And now I’m enjoying what really is an emerald city, with all the comforts of a progressive society with so little of the baggage the drags down America’s so-called greats. Seattle is concentrated, and that’s a great thing.

Ready Player One

School’s out and in between now and work, I’ve started reading again. So I hopped ON the plane at LAX and started doing my thing. First on the list was Ready Player One a coming of age novel by Earnest Cline.

It was alright. I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if I were 10 years younger though. If I’m not mistaken, I think I came of age quite a few years ago, so some of the wit and humor made me roll my eyes, but if I stopped and made believe, I was young and awkward again! Well the last part still holds, but I can see my youth slipping away from me at the ripe old age of 25. Honestly, I can feel it! My knees ache after my runs now!

The book really cashes in on the whole nerds-are-cool thing and we’re beautiful in all shapes and sizes thing. All good. Super, super PC.

This is definitely a kids book. It’s full of facing your insecurities, puberty, girls, boys, love, breakups, identity crises. All normal things that we’ve all done once or twice. In the book, everyone prefers to play WoW all day because of weird global circumstances. Without giving too much away, our main characters are hyper nerds who obsess over the incarnate of Steve Jobs mixed with John Carmack with a healthy dose of high-functioning autism (when convenient). Then they do a dance which is something like that Adam Sandler movie, Pixels. Along the way they discover what it means to be nice people and that there are bad people in the world that must be punished.

I’ll add this to my niece and nephews’ booklist, I think they’ll love it.

Top schools

When I was younger, I thought a school was a school and it didn’t really matter where you go, for college is for drinking learning, and alcohol books never change*. My high-school counselor kept emphasizing the importance of location and how geography/geology is a valid reason to choose once school over another. Of course, I ignored this, for college is for the purpose stated above.

Thankfully, I’ve never had to suffer due to adherence to faulty doctrine as I’ve attended institutions that were very well planned. A good quality of education also attracts good people, so I was lucky to have learned and to have met so many friends.

That being said, I recently visited Stanford University and got a chance to drink some of that Kool-Aid. The result was that I got pretty drunk.

From portion of campus I saw, namely the area surrounding the Main Quad and the Engineering schools, I had the feeling that everything had an explicit purpose for existence and it was apparent from building design and organization. The surrounding geography was filled with green hills, wooded areas, and winding roads, which in my opinion gives a Harry Potter/Hogwarts sense of isolated wonder. Be it by design or just chance circumstance, Stanford was be built into a beautiful landscape.

I can imagine that one can benefit from all this as a student in that the intrinsic academic strength of a top school combined with the sense inspiring physical environment make work and life balanced. If I had been here for my schooling, I might have actually succeeded in doing that work-hard-play-hard mantra.

Having drank a serving of the Kool-Aid, I feel like I have to revise my old opinion that choice of schools doesn’t matter. I’m late to the party by finally realizing it, but I seriously doubt anyone has ever made a mistake by choosing an awesome university over an okay university. This part is obvious. What was not obvious is how much geography should be factored into considerations of school quality.

Financial Engineering

MSFE was a whole 2 and a quarter¬†years ago. I wonder how many people in my class stayed in America. I wonder how many of them became traders, how many of them became quants, and how many didn’t do either. How many of them fell in love with the field and how many of them fell out of it?

I suppose a good portion of them are locked in by default since H1Bs are pretty much at the mercy of their sponsoring companies.

I feel like my peers are in the age group that is fast approaching the point in their lives at which educational and professional decisions are becoming quite damning. With every cycle that passes, whatever dreams that were once relegated to the back-burner will soon have to be relocated to the bucket list.

Disney Imagineering

I went to this tech-talk thing today and was pleasantly surprised by some of the cool things the engineers at Disney do at the park. Did you know that they have trackless rides that randomly generate paths for each run, in real-time?

They’ve got these things up at the park in Tokyo. The first of its kind state-side is opening up soon in Cars Land as Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.

Gonna have to watch the movies and finally go to California Adventures.