Pandemic Diary #77 – omicron dying down, at least the BA.1 one

quick post (hopefully)

omicron peak passing

background levels covid cases way down, so I guess the admins of Harvard/MIT were right to open campus again for end of Jan. was frightening to see it spike so high in sewage levels (wow, i remember attending talk at harvard a year or so b/f pandemic talking about possibilities for monitoring eg opiates in sewage)

to see that huge spike after so many vaccines/boosters, really made omicron seem crazy infectious (passing some on the street). and hear of icu’s full again, people being denied life-saving surgery due to full icu’s. dr’s again giving reports to media asking people to stop acting as if pandemic is over.

still don’t fully understand why it’s such an sharp decline, but grateful to be able to go back to “normal,” not super aware of how many people are within 6 ft bubble and how long (still makes me nervous, but not stressed out for hours after)

quarantine for a week after airport, testing, …

i’ll even go in for a physical in a week. and, i’ve started trying to hunt for office space so i can be in-the-flow again with people going about their careers and anything i do actually mattering / anyone caring if i’m doing work or functioning well or not.

going in to the office! harvard spaces are public access again.


yet. still 2k deaths a day. US passed 1 million deaths this past weekend. 🙁 have had two or three close friends whose grandfather or uncle died from COVID.

and, i still get the UN wire in my email inbox. instability, famine, and coups in western africa, and russia invading ukraine, there is so much less.. peace… than before the pandemic.

grateful to be able to trust the vaccine and the delivery and the healthcare system in the US.

second type of omicron

First read of BA.2 in Jan.

Fascinating to see it ripple through a month later.

I’ve really started… caring less. Don’t think much of going in stores ever since around 2 weeks of moving back to Boston / optimize for that.


Our free COVID tests from the government came in. We also have maintenance workers in and out & run the hepa filters now. (re hepa, apparently less air particulate levels can help with IQ, maybe that will help me lol)


i forget if i posted this before, but still cracks me up

i got one person to get a booster by sending them the CVS links for appointments, so happy about that

i think that’s all for now. went on hikes with masks off outside (masks on in car), so way more chill about that, esp. with rapid testing. with cases so low, even thinking about finding some exercise things. though, it’ll be easier with temps rising again to do outdoor exercise (and with my ankle way better – almost normal)

can’t think of other covid related stuff now, but i can always write it down in next one i guess

misc. life

misc. internet

Pandemic Diary #76 – hot pot at home

  • buy induction stove ~$40
  • pot
  • scoop ladle (ideally draining one)
  • 4 plates (for cooling stuff) – you want to scoop out the meat before it cooks into sadness, and the noodles can dissolve, as well as the veggies
  • 4 bowls (for individual dipping sauce bowls)
  • communal chopsticks for dipping into the pot


  • vermicelli noodles
  • enoki and oyster mushrooms
  • scallions (for dipping sauce)
  • napa cabbage, chinese … veggies of some kind, you want thin stuff that cooks fast
  • lotus root, so tasty
  • fish balls
  • hot pot base seasoning (can also just use chicken boullion cubes)
  • dried mushrooms and kelp
  • tofu poof balls (don’t get the other tofu thing, was gross)
  • Lots of thinly sliced meat (available from hmart) ~ 3 to 4 packs
wash and chop to prep
display nicely
prep dipping sauce – I put random stuff: chili sauce, sesame oil, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, some vinegar, then just mix

enjoy with friends!

enjoy with friends! can put raw ingredients on side table
at the end you realize how many ingredients you still and try to cook it all for storing


Seems like 99 ranch market is on instacart, may actually be cheaper delivered than going to hmart in person !


  • fix bike charger box
  • hydroponics

compare to new years at home

of course cannot compare

I guess it is fun to cook as a shared activity / chore

Pandemic Diary #75 – Omicron’s wave, free kits, and omicron variant + lunar new years, snow storm, work reflections, chinese studies, and nature cams

quick post (edit: rip became long) just because haven’t blogged in while, but am kind of busy

pandemic deaths are at an all-time high, but omicron wave is dying down (per MA wastewater levels). there is however another omicron (variant) which is apparently just as infectious.

so I guess the universities can be right about not closing back down. the omicron wave died down before school really started. (the harvard and mit dashboards are designed quite well).

learned that cuba made 5 of its own vaccines, unlike other developing countries it has good biotech sector and its own vaccine manufacturing.

free kits – now every household gets 4 free kits. and most insurance will reimburse self-bought at-home kits. planet money brought up the good point that a benefit of this government policy (even if it’s not enough for some households) is this ensures more of a steady demand for kit manufacturers. this way there isn’t an awkward lag when there’s a surge, where people literally cannot find tests.

a lot of big companies also offering free rapid tests for their employees

happy lunar new years!

got decorations off of amazon o__o seemed lower effort way to celebrate than dumplings / hot pot (dangerous website:

lasercut felt, and the weird circles are lanterns! have to pull apart
*asian-ness intensifies*

never decorated like this before in the USA, low stakes since no one comes up the stairs except us

Of course every year there is the big spring gala, my roomie pointed out we don’t really have equivalent for US. But to be fair US is mixing pot, and Chinese community in each city has small versions of this too!

中央电视台春节联欢晚会 2022 Part 1/4


my roomie got a lion costume and lunar new years costume for her cats!!! went about as well as you might expect haha

The costume without legs went over a bit better

daily life tidbits

miss clubbing (the maybe 3 times I went). miss just easily grabbing coffee with people. not interrogating everyone about their covid risks. being able to lick doorknobs with abandon. many other things i took for granted. see handwritten diary for spicier details lol

i should work on enunciation. some exercises I bookmarked just now.

work stuff

generally trying to be appreciative of all the opportunities I do have instead of thinking about how life could be better. hey. i’m surrounded by great friends and roommates. it’d be nice to be paid and valued more for my work, but it’s still really cool I get easy access to a lot of world-famous researchers. i may miss not being jaded, but life is pretty relaxing right now. i may long to be more of ambitious / career ladder climber / dream big / push my limits. but maybe at such a time i’ll look back with longing at my relaxed lifestyle now. i may wish i lived in a place more infused with startup culture. but i have a pretty great STEM network compared to may others if I supply the enthusiasm. i may wish my work had a clearer real-life impact. but it’s still worth the attempt.

wait, work stuff.

I am part-time interning at Scotiabank. But not on any of the projects mentioned. I guess it really is a huge bank!

yea. i realized that i may not work in an NLP lab, but that should hardly stop me !! learn online like others. As I work on more production stuff. I have found this lately that I am going through / seems useful.

The tl;dr of this

was working through 6.041, though got distracted. finished lec 8, starting on lec 9 next

fun stuff

great video, highly recommend watching the whole thing. has plot twists and everything. but the non-plot bits are: you can mix powdery snow with water with your hands to make it firmer. can use bread knife. long overhanging dinosaur neck supported with internal wooden stick inside!!. can use ikea boxes with car wax on inside to form cubes.


almost two feet in some drifts eg our balcony.

snow plows would come through and the cars on the side of street got even more wrecked


nws boston twitter is great. as is their weather forecast discussion.

The website gives probabilistic – so a 1/10 change and 9/10 chance. Cool to see. When the prediction was still 16” snow, there was only 80% likelihood >8” snow. forecasting seems hard overall. this was interesting:


i learned there can be dry blizzards without snow. just the wind whipping up existing snow.


I remember this person from 2015 storms.


milk and bread meme

boston was so well prepared for this. governor was totally relaxed about it. market basket was open day of. no lines. next day totally normal access to everything.

background media

fruit bats are so big! and their wings look so fragile. they groom their wings too
priscilla (cat in residence) likes this video


working through ep 29 of

“CuteProgrammer 程序员那么可爱”

still going through MZDS, the original chinese novel form of the untamed.

to do: read about dumplings around the world!

random internet

also, apparently one possibility for # of chinese restaurants in US. is that for chinese exclusion act there was an exception for business owners, which included restaurants. so restaurant owners could go to and from china when others could not. o__o per random youtube vid (mental floss channel) about chinese food in the US

also in vein of my interest in training not-dogs, birds trained to pick up litter. start with timed feeder so birds know food there. then put a bunch of litter, so when birds accidentally knock in they learn litter is food. then they tell other birds!


soon, ice castles in new hampshire. – wow, so many people i know / haven’t talked to in years rip

Mt. sunapee is ~2 hr drive. but due to staffing shortages, a lot of lines…

perhaps yet more youtube to learn to ski? Some advice from friends:
“You just put all your weight on the big toe of your outer ski and you turn. Lift the inner ski slightly so it can rotate and stay parallel.” “If you are learning to ski, no need for a large mountain. McIntyre in Manchester is easy. Looking to get out? Rent snowshoes. Buy microspikes for hiking. Try Mount Cardigan. AMC has facilities there. That was the winter destination from Boston before mechanical lifts”


wow my youtube consumption has increased drastically 0: