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).