Pandemic Diary #54 – i never thought reading chinese could be addicting (May 20)

i feel like i’ve discovered a superpower,
the shift from 1000 to 2000 characters known is huge !

or maybe just forcing myself to read more chinese regardless has greatly increased my tolerance for stumbling through stuff I can only half read

feels like a snowball where i recognize more of the characters (stopping 10x an article vs 50x an article), so it’s more pleasant to read, so i read more

yesterday i read through a bbc chinese article in full, as in i read it at the dinner table and was getting tired, scrolled down, and saw i only had one paragraph left & finished it off

usually that happens when i’m only halfway through the article and i feel overwhelmed and just quit

i spend way too much time on reddit (i hate myself so much for this) so i made an effort to find chinese reddit, after browsing a bunch of poorly formatted semi-spam filled BBS’s, it appears to be /r/China_irl

i also saw wechat has “moments” and so i apparently have contacts who post in-joke posts about boston, like the kinda silly nyc vs boston, sports teams kinda quality posts

there’s scientific american as i mentioned earlier

occasionally the local chinese newspapers have an article or two in chinese

OH the other big source is with enough digging i found webtoons (which i also spend way too much time on…) has not just traditional chinese translation (which i read about 50+ ep of how to become a dragon on… fml, thanks pleco ocr for making this possible since traditional was an uphill struggle) but also a simplified version!

this simplified version made me understand the importance of CDNs, which I guess in one case are just servers on this side of the atlantic caching content in china, because it. is. like. dialup, but worse. you can’t just put the page there and assume it’ll load the images eventually, it’ll usually time out.

i sorted it out (a post for another time — VPN + some software called hakuneko / OR data and cellphone browser, but hakuneko is more reliable) and i was literally refreshing my page every few hours waiting for an update so i could exercise my chinese reading skills on this new source

it’s fun to be able to compare the english / chinese side-by-side, learn all the onamatopoeia

anyway it feels like a superpower to be able to read blocks of text in another language haha, it’s like you have a bunch of blurred images on a page (aka text you can’t understand) and then BAM you put on glasses and everything’s clear

Pandemic Diary #53 – paper, sleep (May 19)

I just woke up from an hour long nap on the ground of my office after I locked myself out of my own bedroom (on purpose) – even though I got seven hours of sleep last night –


as a reminder to myself that I’m not just excuse-seeking, I do actually fall into above-average sleepiness category, (even with the diagnosis after a sleep study it feels hand wavy), here are recollections from my napping days

— skipping lunch and then finding a disused hallway and napping on the stored classroom furniture in high school, with the awkward stress of hoping no one walked in and found me
— getting woken up by alarmed teachers after napping on my backpack under my poofy jacket in the stairwell after school let out — in retrospect I probably looked like a homeless person
— napping curled up one of the mini-stairs alongside the sidewalk along Mass Ave and getting woken up by alarmed stranger – I learned that people think you’ve fainted if you pick places like that to nap

none of this is a serious issue unless it impacts me, so, what is the impact?

it’s not clear right now since i’ve sort of finagled my way into situations where naps during the day are pretty okay, but i remember the ~1 year I spent working in an office for reals (vs as a high school student unpaid summer intern, I think I just napped at my desk), and just staring at my screen uncomfortably at an office and scrolling just to try to stay awake after lunch. just totally not there for an hour. miserable.

worried as places exit* pandemic mode and I seek to exit academia that i’ll land myself someplace where it does matter, i need to be awake in the office 8 hours a day consistently (I think most jobs I might seek are in the office)

exit*: I say this because Harvard announced intentions to resume in-person schooling this semester, not because I have strong faith things will go back to normal in the world soon

well that’s all, just trying to go for papers right now, hence the long silence, maybe have a deadline in 10 days

Pandemic Diary #51 – five baby birds (carolina wren) (May 3)

did I mention the bird eggs all hatched 6 days ago??

they started out looking like the stuff out of nightmares. Here’s a bunch of stills from videos. (We also have the other view of the mom/dad coming in and feeding. But I chose ones here that kind of showcase the feathers coming in)

evening april 27: one bird hatched. will the rest make it??
oh. oh my. stuff of nightmares. day 1 after hatching
day 2: eww.
day 3: still nightmare fuel
day 4, the hair coming in helps a lot with the ick factor
day 5, i wonder if the feathers growing in is painful, they sure do wiggle around a lot.
day 6: looking like dinosaurs

Pandemic Diary #50 – continuous internal screaming (May 1)

i have mostly given up on internships which frees up my mind to FREAK TF OUT about turning something in for NeurIPS in May 19th.


okay so i have at least submitted 12 apps, so …

+ have started on which is fun b/c you can see other people’s answers after! also super reality check i am not as good at coding as i thought lol

the inaudible hunt I helped organize / wrote for went well, almost 50 team/people completed the hunt

I wasted the life of at least 46 people

tomatoe plants are growing bigger finally but they are also yellowing out. nitrogen deficiency, underwater, or some bacterial infestation? they’re getting chewed on but not sure by what

roses are doing ok this is fun always meant to learn more about CTF

PicoCTF: Let learning happen through exploration. The largest cybersecurity hacking contest for middle and high school students has expanded to help learners of all experience levels. (For the RSA section challenge question: is the private key 4966306280016000? for phi = (p-1)*(q-1). The solution is not given :'( )

duckietown arrived. noted that back in stock on okdo… waste of $70 T__T to get it shipped from HK. however, I could not have known. ready to livestream my experience with it. “mit grad attempts duckietown course with dad. how many ducks will they run over?”

also omg i got my 2nd moderna shot on monday, so close to fully vax yayyyyy . definitely was out of it the day after, all i wanted to do was sleep, got up for an hour and was exhausted. day after that was just a little headachy and sleepy. v-safe is a disaster, does not work on my phone inexplicably.

tried to get drs appointment now that i have health insurance (thanks obama) failed b/c all the dr’s are busy RIP. i should try again.

my rent situation for summer was under control and now it is not, person backed out on me 🙁 now contemplating, for $2500/mo i could live in penthouse? i feel like i lived that already overnighting at northeastern in the robotics 5th floor lab already lol

goals: finish book , start on basement. automatic mushroom mister.

oh we ate the mushrooms! they tasted like MUSHROOM STOCK maybe needed to boil-rinse once first. not sure a second flush will grow, looking a little moldy

so pessimistic about the future. gotta remember there will be unexpected happy points too.

what was i passionate about anyway? i kind of fell into grasping. it’s cool, but the immediate applications in helping people are a while away.

changed my desktop to chinese (in ubuntu 20.04). PDF render looks eldritch. automatic internationalization gone wrong (this happens to all PDFs in box).

looks fine under dropbox preview, or opening directly in browser. maybe i’ll report it as a bug