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.

Nostalgia rig 2002

So… today I spent 19 dollars and got a Radeon 9700 Pro… and then I spent 14 dollars and got 2x512MB of Kingston KHX3200/512 DDR-400… which means I’ve finally got Winbond BH-5.

Spent another 12 dollars and got… an AthlonXP-M 2600+…

Nobody reads this blog, but to a hypothetical reader, who knows early-2000s hardware… I’ve just reached legendary status.

Just need a Chieftec Dragon and a DFI Lanparty NFII Rev. B.

Leo

The Revenant was a good movie. It kept me entertained the whole way through, but is something that I will probably never watch again. Actually, I think I have to. I effectively watched it through grating. The last row at Pacific Theatres at the Grove is conveniently blocked by the railing.

Leo did a pretty decent job doing his thing I guess. I have no idea what it really means to be a good actor, but I’m pretty sure Tom Hardy did a better job playing the bad man Fitzgerald.

The lasting impression that the movie gave me was that I should visit some more national parks.

2/14

I’m getting a lot of marketing emails reminding me to book a place for their Valentine’s Day dinners. I’d take Orchid, but I don’t think a betta can eat at any of these fine establishments.

2 more weeks

The Santa Hustle half-marathon in Galveston rejuvenated by love/hate relationship with running. Find me a scenic route in a new environment and I’ll have the time of my life. Put me on a treadmill or have me run on a track and all I can think of is… I can’t think, I am now a hamster.

So after winging the half-marathon in December, I’m now 2 weeks away from winging the LA Marathon. I must admit, I haven’t been training as hard as I should be, but I’ll be alright. Looking forward to all the food I’m going to eat afterwards.