Snappychat weekend.

As I enter the 4th week of dog ownership, I am now entering the point of no return! Not that I was ever going to exercise the option to return Arabella. She brings some welcome order to my life, but not only that, honestly, a newfound sense of responsibility. Her underbite is cute too.

We’ve still got a lot to work on in terms of her fear and anxiety, but we’re chugging right along. There’s nothing that a little patience and commitment can’t solve.

Except for when it comes to softball. 18 runs in an inning to win the game was only about smashing the ball as fucking hard as we could.

As an aside, I went to my first vegan restaurant. Plant Food and Wine. It was unexpectedly good.

Field report

More like garage report.

I tried going to school and sitting through a lecture, it was a bad idea. More people got mugged or shot around school. It’s safer in the garage.

Getting ready to meet my new best friend on Saturday. My mail-order bride dog is coming from Taiwan. 😀

I came across this on the internet.

With greatness comes humility, with mediocrity comes pride.

This distance education thing

Okay, technically, I’m not enrolled in the distance education program at school, but I’ve still got access to all the video recordings! I used to think that distance education was bullshit and that interactivity is essential to learning. I’m calling bullshit on myself. Well, just partially. If I were doing research this semester then there’s a good reason to be at school. Clearly these things are contextual.

I’ve been to grad school enough times to learn a thing or two. Distilled, I’ve learned that I just want to learn some stuff and then get on with my life. USC has taught me that my life is precious and that I should maximize my life expectancy by not hanging around school so much. A mugging happened on the same block a half hour after we left to look at the golden retriever puppy.

So I did some shower analysis and came up with this.

Over the past few semesters, I’ve identified that the cost of switching into school-mode and chill-out mode is insanely high. I waste so much time walking to and from classes or falling asleep in the 2nd hour of my 3 hour lecture (lol USC). Sometimes I go over to Ivan’s and then fall asleep on the floor. A gigantic portion of my day is just not productive, simply because poor scheduling divides my waking hours into too many disjoint partitions. Armed with this afterthought, I’ve opted to just stay at home and 9-5 this this semester. I wake up in the morning and just work. And it’s been good.

Thus far, I’m up to date with my lectures, eat all my meals, caught up with my friends, chit-chatted with my neighbors, and get my exercise in. All evidence is suggesting that the best way to do school is to not be at school.

I’ll report back on this topic in a week.


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.

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.