Pandemic Diary #10, 23 May 2020

Productivity levels (0-3), about a 1
Very sleepy this week, been disorganized the past two weeks. Not sure if due to pulling an all nigher this past week (I slept enough the days after though). Just crashed on the floor for an hour, trying to fight it felt like a stone in a lake trying to swim up against gravity; kinda given up on the sleep doctor but maybe I’ll try again.

Still have some skin rash too, now shifting to more parts of my body. Running out of the hydrocortisone. I wonder if I should try getting an air purifier?

Need to do: dental insurance paperwork, braces, vote (yay absentee ballots all arrived — filed the forms via email too)

I’ve been posting cat pictures to instagram now. Quite questionable, entering the social media of the youngsters.

Visited a bamboo grove last week — super tall bamboo, and shoots everywhere as tall as my hip.. Just randomly in the middle of a normal forest. Quite tasty. Bamboo looks interesting inside. Reminds me of fin gripper from TRI.

ICRA video – mild disaster. Happy with slides, but final microphone take was bad — recorded over zoom, so there’s artifacts, and lots of clothes rustling noise ironically (put mic on myself to get rid of keyboard noise). Can’t find my Zoom h1 camera for narwhaledu days. It’s $100 ! Better get some other solution.

Had fire alarm battery die and make chirpy noises. Cat was so scared she cried! She also seems to have a penchant for eating paper. Seems harmless enough. Her missing hair has recovered! I put a collar on her and she tolerated it okay.

She’s got high-five and sit kinda down, working on a jump. I know I’m not teaching her properly, she gets her paws confused. Maybe parents teaching her differently.

Read no COVID news nor activism lately. Feel quite depressed about mandatory masks op-ed being buried. Having no luck finding a subletter. Maybe that’s okay, sounds like MIT might start re-opening. Need to finish classwork. ๐Ÿ™

Todo: find fellowship and scholarship and grant opportunities. Finish ISER paper. Update quals committee. (Keep focus on how far I’ve come vs compare to other people).

Got monoprice printer working again. Realized need to stop being so perfectionist about bed leveling, just roughly level and print, the print will tell you if need to adjust bed leveling further.

Thinking I need to create another blog. Maybe give up on fixing formatting on old posts. Also thinking ridiculous to have two blogs and a portfolio. Academic life, notes to self, portfolio, and random blog. Do papers and class projects define who I am as a person?

Feeling lousy over old projects I left in a huff. Current lab partner was really nice even though he did 90% of the work.

Learned to spray the fungicide for the black spot mildew.

Cat is:ย  138.6 – 125.6 = 13 lbs exactly. Slowly moving needle in right direction.

Pandemic Diary #9, 17 May 2020

Too much watching of animal hoarder confessions

Stressed about many things… ICRA videos, homework, apartment, not enough done on covid front

Looking for new “learning chinese drama” to watch with parents

Uprooted some bamboo shoots today- – they’re fuzzy!!

AH finally found the drama about a crossdressing chinese general – it’s actually a web series not a drama, apparently, but one with 60 episodes!! 7. God of War, Zhao Yun is loosely based on the 14th-century Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Pandemic Diary #8, 10 May 2020

Today 138.8 – 126.6 = 12.2 ?!?!
May 10, 12.2 lbs.
May 02, 13.5 lbs .
Apr 27, 13.7 lbs.
(same scale was, april 27, 133.4 – 120.2 ish — didn’t wait for scale to settle) = 13.2ish lbs, but that was probably inaccurate? went to vet on April 21st and it was 13.7 lbs.
I guess she is exercising a lot more!!ย  But 1.5 lbs in ~3 weeks is very bad. So I’ll have to feed her a bit more… maybe closer to 230 cals. Maybe from all the running!!
I see, my scale is wildly inaccurate, so I have to take my weight on the scale soon after
And it times out after 30 secs, and after that only jolting it wlil turn it on (not standing on it)
Okay, that’s more reasonable, 13.4 lbs.
May 10, 13.4 lbs. (13 days)
May 02, 13.5 lbsย  (5 days)
Apr 27, 13.7 lbs.
So, actually losing too slowly (0.3 instead of 0.5 lbs).
So, I’ll wean down to (1/16) cup = 25 cals, on top of 150 cals from wet food, = 175 cals, + treats = ~190 cals total. (No more than 10 treats)
Have to watch — the new dry food is 180 cals/can instead of 150 cals.
With the error on my scale — may as well just be no weight change (but probably also no weight gain in that case).
So, drop!

Pandemic Diary #7, 06 May 2020

141.8 – 128.2 = 13.6 lb = 0.1 lb in 4 days
13.7 * 0.01 = 0.137 lb / week, up to 0.274 lb/week
Right on target!

insomnia cookies – 12 pack delivery for ~$27 (incl. $5 tip), includes 6 pack shipped for free. Had total disaster for delivery and stressful to have people pay me back too. Will not tell them next time XD;

Giant Ocean Tank Webcam

Penguin Colony Webcam

The penguins are so cute 0: 0: 0:

My own quarantine + Cat = better understanding why it’s so hard to keep zoo animals happy

Been watching Trevor Noah / John Oliver. News is upsetting. Past 70k cases and President declaring victory. Wants to disband coronavirus task force.

Did New Yorker crossword at after party with friend who defended yesterday!! We struggled, we are not crossword people XD looked up a few Proper Name answers. Turns out really only for 2 people at once, so I screenshared on zoom.

Found on youtube, watched half with parents.

Watched ใ€Š่‡ช็„ถ็š„ๅŠ›้‡ใ€‹็ฌฌไธ€้›† ็บตๆจช over the weekend & finished it a few days ago – last episode was documenting how they filmed all the animals – pretty intense!!

Want to watch All Is Lost on bluewater per rec of friend – set for 3 weeks out when hopefully class work finished.

Set up weekly meeting with advisor — re-remembered need to do find thesis topic, doing background research on that now

Interesting meeting on transit – cool how much traction Cathy is getting; wrote mask op-ed, having trouble getting it out the door. Missed NECSI training on policy advocacy

Watched a few minutes of storm trysail – man overboard procedures.

And refound Secondary Russian – Dallas ISD – has really old school and therefore awesome film

Pandemic Diary #6, 05 May 2020

Watching (for 9.357 presentation):

Sad story of a cold epidemic in a chimpanzee group kill 30% of the group. A lot of transmission from humans. Now required to wear masks and keep distance:

Applications of DL to conservation:

Good overview pictures of tool use; and sad pictures of mom carrying around deceased infant

Nut cracking.

Pestle pounding

Tap scanning by aye aye


Ch. 12 ofย

The Evolution of the Primate Hand Anatomical, Developmental, Functional, and Paleontological Evidence

(includes how aye aye curls just thumb to hold things, since other fingers are too long to curl around object)

How did I get here:

Cats lol. Cat pawing at food puzzle. Surprisingly adept with food puzzles. Class topic is hands though – so primates.


Continuing M / R meetings for current project – “flattening the transit curve” – now thinking primarily about advise for which businesses to stagger. Alarming statistic: In Chelsea, 80% of residents already going to work as “essential services” !! Unfair burden.

Disturbing to hear Fauci barred by White House from testifying in Congress.

Why is social distancing a partisan issue??

Still need to finish op-ed.

Not sure what’s taking so long (2.5 weeks already!!)… Really disappointed that US is re-opening. We didn’t shut down just for hospital capacity – but also to buy time for PPE. The governor has a lot of requirements for businesses – should we not also have requirements of our government? And lack of confronting racial disparities; what is the plan?

Feeling sad that I had so much energy the first time around. But hard to combat vocal minority of protests.


After a while, still not understand how this works!
Covers need for mandatory QR codes, or opt-out. Masks mandate.

Other Good tracker made by “first generation chinese american” Looks like pivoting to effect of early lifting now.

We’re past 60k deaths I believe. 1k+ deaths daily.

Racial disparities are inexcusable

COVID-19 Status Report | Georgia Department of Public Health

New site on testing

#TestAndTrace: Why it’s effective, reports for each U.S. State, and how you can help


8tracks is back alive?? Neat.

Over the weekend:


Remember “morning exercises” in middle school. Also, “plaza dances” (usually for older people).

My dad managed 1.5 minutes, we managed 5 minutes. Room for improvement! Something to get my blood pumped in the mornings.

Succulents + Plushie

Pattern for plushie


Baked sweet and sour cauliflower

Leftover from soymilk making (soak beans 5 hours; put in machine) + lao gan ma sauce

Watermelon peel (soy sauce, garlic, pepper)


Bean sprouts


Pandemic Diary #5, 2 May 2020

Cat: 150 cal wet food (friskies meaty bits, 5.5 oz)
50 cal dry food (purina pro plan diet, 1 oz)
4-5 dental kibbles (greenie’s, 1.4 * 5 = 7 cals)

Vet said ~215 cals a day is goal

Current weight (on human scale): 13.5 lbs
Goal weight: ~.25 lb / week, 12.5 lb at end of month

Need to: file dental paperwork, make sure absentee voting in order

sweet and sour cauliflower – recipe research

3-Ingredient Orange Chicken Sauce Recipe

Sauce Ingredients:
1 Cup BBQ Sauce Sweet Baby Ray’s
1 Cup Sweet Orange Marmalade Smucker’s
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
Crispy Chicken Ingredients:
3-4 Chicken Breasts We used 3
1 Cup Flour/1 Cup Cornstarch You can use both or either/or
2 Eggs
Oil We used vegetable oil


ORANGE CHICKEN SAUCE —– A few drops of cooking oil 1 tablespoon of brown sugar 1 teaspoon of white sugar 0.5 cup of orange juice Half a thumb size of young ginger – grated 3 cloves of grated garlic 1 tablespoon of black vinegar 0.5 tablespoons of dark soy sauce Some cornstarch solution (add enough to the sauce to thicken to your liking)





Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken


  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp soy sauce


Youโ€™ll first need to make the sweet and sour chicken sauce, which consists of sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, corn starch, and water. Add everything but the water and cornstarch to a saucepan.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then combine the water and cornstarch in a separate bowl before adding it to the homemade sweet and sour sauce. Let that bubble away for a few minutes until it thickens up.


  • Ketchup โ€“ and plenty of it โ€“ for a tanginess and colour. I donโ€™t eat a lot of ketchup, but itโ€™s a must for this dish.
  • Malt vinegar โ€“ itโ€™s the best type of vinegar Iโ€™ve found for getting the โ€˜rightโ€™ touch of sourness.
  • Brown sugar โ€“ for rounded sweetness, and to counteract any bitterness in the vinegar.
  • Pineapple chunks in pineapple juice โ€“ yep, rather than chopping up a fresh pineapple, I find pineapple chunks actually work better, and the juice is an all-important element to the sweetโ€“tangy flavour of the sauce.


Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe


  • -lace the cornstarch in one shallow bowl, and the eggs in another shallow bowl. Beat the eggs lightly.
  • Take each piece of chicken and dredge it in the cornstarch. Then dip it in the egg. Transfer that to a skillet with oil that has been heated over medium-high heat. And yes โ€“ you dip in the cornstarch then the egg โ€“ this is a little different than a lot of other recipes.
  • Cook the chicken in batches, just until it is browned. The chicken will bake in the oven, so this is just to brown and crisp up the chicken, not to cook it through. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish.
  • In a bowl, combine your sauce ingredients โ€“ sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic powder. Pour this mixture over the chicken in the baking dish.
  • Bake the chicken at 325ยบF for an hour, stirring it every 15 minutes.
  • Serve the sweet and sour chicken over rice and be prepared to never want to get it for take out again!

Pandemic Diary Day #4, May 1

Still really sleepy. Not sure what’s up with that. Rearranged my room to have more table space, I think that’ll encourage me to get up and face the day / have more routine. Or something similar to that – something I look forward to each morning.

In the evening had “art time” where my friend and I wrote up most of an op-ed. Just have to clean that up and get that out ASAP.

Feeling stressed: need to complete several homeworks. And then final project: get the “following a ball” task completed and trained to show jitter.

Also, research: need to start fleshing out paper.

Spent an hour following the cat around – let her out of her room for a while today, all the way until sleep time.

Nice weather today. Onions are doing fine. Need to pesticide the roses again tomorrow against the black spot disease. Need to get the ivies off the brickwork.

Georgia’s open again, my biggest stress is how to combat that as a movement. Want to contribute to modelling side, or at least learn about it, but recognize that I need to focus on research. Concerns are weighing in for postdocs. My friend is stuck in Boston and wants to be with her family (abroad) if she’s WFH anyway, but wouldn’t go even if there were cheapish flights, because she’s worried about getting back into the US.

Some of the more interesting articles of late:

heck yea (but also disturbing that they are like “the demographics move against us, but heck democracy, just ‘get our voters to turn out'”)

No easy way out :

And this I really enjoyed.