Pandemic Diary #18, 26 July 2020 –

It’s been a while since the last post. I’m not sure why I’ve found it so difficult to remember to journal, and instead spend my downtime  reading the news / playing with the cat. I suppose a lot of stuff has happened that I don’t feel comfortable talking about publicly, which has hindered my journaling.

Currently: Mad about governor suing atlanta mayor to strike down mask mandate. Mad at politicians in general for thinking they know better than history and health experts. A lot of ABSURD things – e.g. the secretary of state website about elections essentially running negative campaign against Abrams and her campaign to get people to vote. (??)

Started: Using OBS Studio and livestreaming.

Taught cat a few more tricks. Attached xioami band to her collar. Cat toilet training: going kinda poorly. Soon: teach cat to use buttons to speak?

Need to clean all rooms. Need to throw things out and reclaim spaces. Need to set up lasercutter.

Finally sorted out YNAB today. Has a confusing mindset on savings: that you want to have a *purpose* for them, or else it’s easy to “steal” from them for random splurges. Forced me to put in some financial goals, which are really the same a life goals. Also put into perspective my “charity deficit” if I’m really aiming for around 10% of my income (that is probably too high, for a grad student income. 50/30/20 – 50% needs, 30% wants, 20% wishes). Savings – looked up the standard stuff, like how much down payment on house, kids, etc. cost. Running for Congress — about $300k to start, for House (!). Must try to think of how it will be worthwhile even if I lose. Harvard probably owes me money still. Sort out soon. Make retainer molds (perpetually putting this off, and anything I think can’t do perfectly).

Is the money not better spent instead of political ads, on public education about wearing masks and staying inside??

Special election – nov 3 – make sure to keep on radar.

Todo: research those two candidates.

I’m thinking: phd by publication. Power of union?

Yesterday: Many libraries give free access to Mango Languages. Todo: include mom on family plan. Learning: russian.

Daily todos:
☑ Update portfolio (techmakers)
☑ Draft emails – ES RR
☐ other profs
☐ 3 papers / propose
☐ read & summarize 3 papers — a lot more really good work in this field in the last 3 years! and many more people at MIT
☐ Scotia + organizer
☐ Fat chance stats lesson ☑ Mango/Duo
☑ YNAB Budgeting
☐ Pandemic blog
☐ Non DL baseline ☐ Temporal mask RCNN
☐ Union – help / healthcare
☐ Clean room ☐ Clean cat room ☐ Clean study room
☐ COVID Activism (state legisl)
☐ ESP8266 ☐ Mulch roses
☐ IL Homework
☐ Faucet ☐ Postcard to friends

Videos watched today: yoga 15 mins. (set up with chromecast / cron script). electrostatic mlem. trevor noah.

Read: washpost, nytimes. Understand: why is NAACP not tax deductible (to free it to do more political activism – donate to charitable sister org instead). (biden victory fund – first few thousands go to biden, next thousands to DNC, then next thousands to state parties). Life you can save vs give well – more gender parity organizations in former. (Is it imperialistic giving? Paternalistic to have this effective altruism outlook?). I have strong feelings after living few a few weeks in place with no running water / little electricity / basically no streetlamps, hence my 80% split toward non-US nonprofits). 80k hours – guess I’m on my way as an AI researcher and with expertise in China. (Found a pen pal on speaky – hope to increase conversations more). A lot of my chinese is grammatically incorrect. Still motivated by how, when I went on my own to see my ?great aunt?, it felt impossible to communicate anything more complicated than “love you” – things about college, economy, politics totally misunderstood.

Bought a lot from IKEA to remodel mom’s kitchen. Will arrive in a month (delivery). Wanted to pick up, but no openings online. I think if I had infinite money I’d spend some significant portion on IKEA lol. It has so many well thought out, inexpensive things. (Though, still I have two water bottles I rarely use — I always feel like my water might be kinda moldy).

Saw comet two days ago!!! 😀

Am happy to get my hands on a soon – want to play around with camera. Cool to see others joining in order!

(important to have healthy media diet, and be aware of biases in intake!)

Savings – actually starting to invest my Roth. Pretty cool to see.
Need more side money — and build up portfolio – how? (Banks?)
Need to apply to more awards – look more enticing to people

Roses still doing poorly. Need to mulch to get rid of future weeds. Not sure best practices (do I need to weed beforehand?). Need to do more dishes and cooking. Have more “date nights” with parents, that’s what I want! (Virtual museum visits? Karaoke?)

Uncertain about going back in September. Want to, but feel like I have so much to do. Want to take a semester off to focus on myself, my family, and my career, on ways to address COVID, on volunteering and mentoring. Not sure how to run past parents. Won’t have major costs? Just health insurance. Want to push out quals. Otherwise, teaching – could be not too stressful? Not sure. (Probably not).

“Study with me” livestreams on youtube for quarantine coworking. & other productivity notes

If you go on youtube and search for “study with me, live”, you’ll find many people livestreaming themselves studying.

I found these a while back, but have lately gotten really into them. I guess it is a natural extension of coworking in the same cafe, to an online setting. Though many days I cowork with my friends, which is usually more effective. Still, sometimes no one is around, we are in different time zones, etc.

It is interesting to see what people are working toward, and it is inspiring to see people working 10 hours a day. And some have days on a roll as well, going into the 100+ days.

It is also interesting to peek into people’s work zones across the world. And, to see the different subjects people are studying. Most of the videos come from Korea. They are offset by about 12 hours, so many of them come online around 8pm, which is 9am there I think. Other people start studying at 6am. Others stop studying at 1am. So, at the 9 or 10am eastern time point, which is usually when I start work, there are more from the US or related time zones.

Here are some examples on youtube.

Some have cats too 🙂

Many (most?) follow the pomodoro technique in various time scales. (30 mins, 1 hr, 1.5 hr, 3 hr, etc.).

I found also someone else saying, they did not start out studying 10 hours in a row at once, in disciplined manner. To build up to it. So, I have been doing that. Formally, I have excessive daytime sleepiness, which sometimes throws a huge wrench in the works of trying to keep a consistent schedule. But I have found a way that allows me to flex around that. Usually, I will crash for about 1.5 hrs before I am able to drag myself awake. So, I have picked 1.5 hr long pomodoros. (75 min work, 15 mins break). And these are easily split up into 3 chunks. So, I have a goal of how many pomodoros to complete, and if I crash during one session, that is okay, I just have to complete the rest.

It may look something like this (and yes, I was into dot grid notebooks before it was cool).

Finally, I found an app on Android I like, called good timer. It is minimalist and no ads. So, I can keep track of how long I am able to concentrate, and it discourages my phone use.

Finally, it is possible to set both samsung android phone, and ubuntu, to grayscale, which can make computers more boring. On android, my phone has “color adjustment” pre-installed, which I can just turn on.

On ubuntu 18.04, gnome-shell version 3.28.4 – Tint all extension–  Install with two clicks, then change color by just clicking the palette icon on the toolbar.