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December 31, 2021 2:19 PM


I thought 2020 threw my system out of whack. I had high highs and low lows, but looking back at it, 2020 was pretty chill. Sure, the pandemic started, but at least it forced me to stay home. I didn't have to think about it. I traveled less, and I spent a lot of time with my sister.

2021 was a lot. I had even higher highs and lower lows. I've been so emotional and stressed out this year that it affected my sleep. And I had never had trouble with sleep before. Sleep was something I could count on. But then I had three weeks of barely any sleep, and months of waking up without an alarm. I used to think that being able to wake up without an alarm was a thing to strive for. Now, it's a little comforting to hear it.

But the sleep issues were only the beginning. I got promoted to a managerial position, and then several months later demoted myself. My dad suddenly experienced a lot of pain, and it changed the course of his life, taking up more of my time and headspace than I could have ever anticipated. But I also got to know a really wonderful person by going on lots of walks and eating lots of ice cream. I've learned and fumbled a lot throughout all of this, and I'm still learning and fumbling and flailing.

Sometimes it feels like all of my time is taken up by working, doing chores, running errands, and helping others, and I barely have any time for any of my own projects. But somehow I'm still able to get a few things done for myself. I beat Elite Beat Agents. I finally managed to do a 10 mile run. I learned some Android mobile app programming, and I made an app for my food blog. And every once in a while I make updates to this site.

I usually make New Year's resolutions, but I'm not quite sure I need something to focus on right now. Maybe I'll keep working on the mobile app. Maybe this year I'll finally get back to Programming Pearls or learning Teochew. Maybe I'll get strong enough to do a push up. We'll see.

I'm happy with the past year, and I'm looking forward to the year to come.

October 23, 2021 9:18 PM

10 miles

I probably gained about 20 pounds over the course of the pandemic. Maybe only 5 lbs or so during 2020, but once travel started opening back up again, and I was visiting home, I just ballooned really quickly. I gained about 15 lbs between February and June this year, and it was enough to make my doctor ask me about it.

You weigh 140? Is that right? You were 126 earlier this year.

Uhhh, yep, that's right. I told her it was due to stress.

So I had to do something about it. Stop eating so much fried chicken. Stop drinking soda. Start cooking again. Oh, and exercise.

But I felt like a blob. I could feel the tightness in my clothes and the heaviness all over my body. But I've been there before. If I can recover from a freshman 30, I can revert this quarantine 15.

So I did what I did eight years ago when I was overweight and terribly out of shape. I started running. And man, was it a struggle. How the hell did I manage to do 5 mile runs no problem pre-pandemic? For months I was barely able to run 2 miles non-stop. And I was running slow. 11 minute mile pace.

But something changed a few weeks ago. I don't know what it was. I felt lighter? I started being able to run 5Ks again. I ran 5 miles with my partner and I felt...fine. And then last week, I went out for a run on my own, with no real expectations. I ran three miles, and it felt so comfortable, so I kept going. I was at five miles, six miles, seven miles. I started running faster. I thought, "I think I can hit 10 miles". So I kept going. My feet started hurting, but I was determined. And suddenly, there it was.

I really thought I was going to have a few more #in-progress posts before getting to this point, but I guess I just unlocked something within me.

October 3, 2021 4:22 PM

An apple tree

Whenever my mom visits me, I try to plan meals at tasty Asian restaurants and find scenic places to hike because I know that's what she enjoys.

But man, nothing beats taking her to an apple tree on the side of the road. The way her eyes light up with excitement, stumbling upon apples (un)ripe for the picking. The rush she gets as she's pulling down a branch, grabbing a really good apple that's only just in reach. Her insistence on getting "just a few more" as we try to hold her back from harvesting the whole tree.

_-~~~~-_ ,;" o o ";, "We hit the jackpot!" ( o o o o) (o o o o ) (o o o o o) ',o \\ | | // o,` `.,\\| |//,.' | | | | ..o,,,/ \,,,..

"This one. This one here. Grab that one." "This one here? It's green." "Yeah! We like the little ones!"

Whatever legal troubles I may get into or fines I have to pay for this, it must be worth it.

# ^. | /_/ This apple was kind of pink, and ,.-|/,-~-., kind of green, and I had no idea .':::::::::::'. how to convey that well with my ::::::::::::::; ascii art coloring, and I should \:::::::::::::/ really just stick to line art `.:::::::::.' `~-----~`

September 7, 2021 10:56 PM

Scrabble Life

This is the Common App essay I wrote when I was applying to colleges. I don't know how this could possibly have made me look desirable to colleges, but it's a glimpse into my life in 2010.

It's four in the morning. I'm wide awake, and I'm picking out tiles from a bag: OENSHYT. I look at my letters and my eyes light up. I can make a bingo on my first turn. Oh, darn. I wish I had the first move so I could utilize the TRIPLE WORD spot. Nevertheless, I still might be able to play this. I sit in anticipation, watching everyone else make their moves. My older cousin plays the word BIN. I see an opening. I place the tile S at the end of BIN to make BINS. Then I place the rest of my letters around it, making the word HONESTY. I get 71 points on my first bingo ever. My cousins can never catch up to me, and soon I win the game by 61 points.

Even though I don't quite enjoy writing that much, I absolutely love word games and crossword puzzles. I especially excel at Boggle. I love playing it because it's fast and easy, and it requires no strategy, just speed and concentration. But if there's more time, I usually play a game of Scrabble with my cousins. I have no idea why we're all so drawn to this game. It requires much more thinking than any of us would want to exert on a lazy summer night, but it's what we do together.

No, I'm not a competitive Scrabble player. The only times I've ever played Scrabble were with my cousins. I'm not a very strategic player either. I always make the move that gives me the most points, even if it leaves me with horrible tiles. I don't think about whether I might open up the TRIPLE WORD spot or not. I always try to win, though. Sometimes I'll take five minutes in my turn scanning the whole board, constantly rearranging my letters, and adding up possible points. It's an activity that I love to play for fun, but I would surely crack under pressure if I were in a serious competition.

At times, my cousins and I have gone all day and night playing Scrabble. We wake up at around noon, and immediately we take out the limited edition Scrabble board. Later we decide to watch a movie, so we use my cousin's iPod and play Scrabble with each other in the car. Even in the movie theater, we're still passing around the iPod.

We're a bunch of teenagers to young adults, and yet sometimes we're such dorks. One of my younger, twelve year-old, cousins always sits by herself texting and checking her Facebook. "What a bunch of losers," she must be thinking, "They'd rather play scrabble than go out." One time last summer I had a birthday party to go to. I left to go to my friend's house when I was in the middle of a cousin bonding Scrabble game. Of course I had fun at the party, but I honestly had even more fun playing Scrabble.

I don't see my cousins very often: only once or twice a year. So when we're not around each other, we have normal lives and sleep cycles. We always make the most out of each bonding experience, even if that means playing board games all day.

August 25, 2021 11:41 PM


____________ | |__________| |o|----------| It's been a while since I've blogged | |----------| or journaled, and I'd like to get back |o|----------| to it. | |----------| |o|----------| ...this is also the best ascii art I |_|__________| can make right now


Summer is fast approaching. Summer has my favorite kind of weather, yet it's my least favorite season. Summer means that my family plans all these vacations, and I get really overwhelmed and stressed out. Summer is when so much of my mental energy is taken up by other things, that my side projects take a back seat.

4 months later

Fall is approaching. It's still hot and muggy outside, but for me, the change in weather isn't what defines the change in season.

Fall means summer is ending. It's that feeling of relief when I get back from my last trip in August. It's when all the kids are back at school. It's calming--to get back into a routine, to be able to depend on my weekends again.

Fall has Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. At times it feels like the complete opposite of calm and relaxing, and yet I love it. I love the pre-Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday night and the hustle in the kitchen Thursday morning. I love the post-Thanksgiving lunch nap and the Black Friday shopping which wraps up before it's even Friday.

Fall is when the leaves change colors. Fall is when I took an early morning hike at McConnells Mills State Park and sat on my favorite rock, watching the leaves fall down from the trees and the water flow down along the boulders in the creek, having my mind go absolutely blank and just taking in the moment.

Fall is my favorite season.

--obligatory pumpkin picture-- _ _}#{_ ,'/ / \ \`. / { ; : } \ ( { : ; } ) `.\_\_/_/.'

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