Emily Lam

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Semester Recap

Happy New Year!!!

This post is really belated and lacking any real content. Oh well. This semester has been pretty uneventful. I took Probability, Senior Design, Computer Organization, and Thermodynamics while teaching EK100. Oh, and life . . .

To recap:
What I learned in Thermodynamics this year. LoL. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

Full-time Job or Graduate School?

Master's or Professional Master's Program or PhD Program?

And what is my path?

There are a lot of decisions I need to make, and I need to make them soon. When I first composed this post, I was going to write about those three questions and that I needed to make decisions soon. But I never got around to fully writing the post, and well, it's November 23rd now, and graduate school applications are due IN LESS THAN A MONTH!

Fortunately, I have made a few decisions. I've decided that I wanted to pursue more education. So the answer to the first question is no to full-time job and yes to graduate school. This decision came to me while I was interviewing for jobs. I found that I wanted to be at the forefront of a project, the cutting edge. I like discussing ideas. And the feel I was getting from Industry was a kind of stale for entry level jobs. I wanted to be a part of innovation and if not at least surrounded by it like I am in the lab. From my interviews, I got the feeling that if I entered the industry now I'd probably get stuck in a rut. I always knew I would at least get my Master's but now, I feel like getting it sooner rather than later would be a more fun option, probably not the best option economically though. I could always wander down the exciting and difficult startup path if I crave innovation, but I don't think that's for me just yet. Maybe in the future. I'm still young!

So the second question? I'm leaning more toward a research Master's now. And a PhD will come if I can manage to convince people to accept me for one. The PhD students in my lab are brilliant. The professors with PhDs are brilliant. I am not brilliant yet. I think though if I keep learning, I'll get there.

And what about my path? Well, that's the question I've been contemplating since this blog started, actually earlier, since senior year of high school. I've matured . . . All I know is that my path is unique to me. It's not mapped out. There are no checklists. I will just have play it by heart until it becomes clearer.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It's happening!

I've decided to do NaNoWriMo again this year. It's happening. So wish me luck as I try to succeed this year!! Join me! Encourage me! It will be fun! I'm going to be balancing senior year and my worst yearly post count ever in my three years of blogging. But I'm still me. And even if I'm busy and can't do the things I do as frequent, I will still do the things I do, like blog and compete in Nano. (My NaNoWriMo Profile.)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Stardust (film & novel)

I recently just got around to reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I liked it. It's a fun light fantasy novel of the adventure sort. 

Here's my copy of Stardust. I got it signed this past summer at a Neil Gaiman book signing. I had purposely bought a Neil Gaiman book that I hadn't read before to take event. It was a win-win situation: I got a new Neil Gaiman book to read and a Neil Gaiman book autographed by Neil himself. Pretty awesome!

Yesterday night, I watched the film adaptation. Although, the main characters are pretty much the same, the surrounding cast varied quite a bit. The backstory with Tristran's father Dustin is almost completely altered. The film added a bunch of dramatic flair about Captain Shakespeare which didn't happen in the novel. The film was also kind of awkwardly paced at the beginning but it got better. Some of the plot was also too convenient at times (I liked the talking tree over the talking moon, which was kind of lame, presentation wise at least.) Um, what else, Victoria was kind of already annoying in the novel, and the movie made her even more annoying and unlikeable. But I did like the two leads, Tristran and Yvaine, from the film. Overall, I liked the novel better. It was far more fantastical.

Also, I doodled in some of the characters in the margins of my probability notes as I was reading Stardust. They are what I thought the characters would look like. However, I've since looked at some artwork for the comic by Charles Vess and my character designs are no where close. Meh. I seemed to have the opposite view for every character.

My interpretations explained:

Victoria -- yeah, she's kind of whatever. I tried to draw her as the stereotypical Hollywood beauty.

Dustin -- for some reason I thought he had curly hair. I think the only descriptions I clearly remember for him are that he had chestnut brown hair and that he was larger than Lady Una. I also gave him a beard. *shrugs* I thought of him as a friendly, well-liked, easy going guy. I tried to give him a calm and happy despondent. He's kind of that normal guy who does normal things until he finds himself in a non-normal situation, which he doesn't mind being in. (Definitely less rebellious than the film version made him out to be.)

Lady Una -- for some reason I thought of Lady Una as very catlike and tolkien-elf-like with a gypsy spin. And for some reason I got the interepeation that she was petite and very thin, slaves are usually not fed well. So I drew her with angular features, a sense of nobility, and poise. Based off what I read, I thought I did a good job. But based on what she looks like in the films, I am completely off. The film version is much more weak in my opinion. I don't think the film version could be the interim ruler of Stormhold. The film version felt like a stereotypical gypsy fortune teller than a princess in captivity.

Tristran -- I tried to make him a combination of Dustin and Lady Una. So like his father, he has the curly hair that I seemed to have just made up. And then I added in the narrow and catlike features of his mother. But seeing as I got both his father and mother wrong, there's no surprise I got him wrong too. Like his father, I remember him having chestnut brown hair. The film version of Tristran is actually pretty likable. His character has straight hair rather than curly hair, but his naive but thoughtful demeanor is similar.

Yvaine -- my Yvaine is pretty off like the rest of my characters. But I actually like all three interpretation of Yvaine I've seen: the original comic book, the film version, and my version. The original comic book version gives her a very natural and untempered look. I really like it. She certainly looks mystical. The film version is much more earthly but I didn't mind it all. In my version, I tried to make her look like she came from a different universe. Here hair is something that slightly defies gravity. I also made here younger than she is supposed to be.

Witch Queen -- I kind of just drew somebody who could look to be a school teacher.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Street Pianos!

Backlogging aka this post was written November 16th.

So here's a video of me playing a street piano during the Play Me I'm Yours Street Piano festival in Boston!! I really thought the festival was awesome! It really encouraged people to just play. And it made you realize how musical people are: the local piano major, the science major, the little girl, the mom, the grandfather, yourself. You walk down the street and you don't realize that these people can play piano. It made the streets of Boston a little bit more musical. And it's so liberating to play outdoors. Your mistakes appear so little in comparison to all the outside noise and you really enjoy the moment of playing.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Somebody once said to me . . .

I once told somebody that I wanted to become a Disney Imagineer. At that point in life, I had already realized that becoming a Disney Imagineer was a dream, one very difficult to attain. So that I told that somebody it was nigh impossible to obtain my dream with the amount of people coveting the same dream. And that somebody said to me:
You're right, many people want to become a Disney Imagineer, but not everybody who wants to become a Disney Imagineer will have the skill-set necessary to do so. You will have that skill-set. So the chances are much higher when you are only comparing the qualified people.
I paraphrased, because I don't exactly remember how that somebody said it to me. That somebody might and might not remember saying that to me but it stuck with me. When I fall short, it's because I don't have the necessary skill-set to succeed. So that's what I do, I work on becoming better, improving my skills, and learning new things.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


I've got no brain.
“How can you talk if you haven't got a brain? I don't know, but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking.” -- L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
I've been all over the place this semester. So many things on my mind. Late to things I'm not normally late to. I don't know; I'm just not that sharp right now. I haven't really a chance to relax. I'm trying to relax right now, but in the back of my mind, there's a nagging unrest that I should get something done. Somehow, I've started to schedule in fun and it's not fun when I have to get it done.

It probably has to do with the amount of things I have to do. However, I have always managed to do the things I do so I'm not quite sure what's tipping the balance this semester. Classes this semester do not seem any harder, in fact they may seem easier. Senior Design has been consuming little time and my other three classes have a normal workload. I'm sailing, but that's not really a class I need to think about, it's just two hours of sailing a week. Maybe it's the GREs/Grad School stuff. Or the fact that I still think I can accomplish my personal projects: create a website, work on my light show, and create a USB rechargeable bike light. I'm also researching, but I'm not grading this semester so if I had the time to grade previous semesters, I should have the time to research. Plus, like I said, I also want to continue to do fun things. Oh, and I'm a student advisor, but that should only take ~1 hour a week -- sometimes, it does take up more hours. There's also chores, and meetings/events. I don't know, this doesn't sound like a lot or anymore than previous years. But I guess it is because I'm constantly feeling like I have something to do.

Edit: I forgot to add social commitments to the list. That has risen a little this semester but I think it's because the last few semesters and over the summer, it was at a low. But I do not think it is more than freshmen year . . .

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What really is real?

Movies like Memento messes up my mind. It makes me wonder about what we actually know about the world. We can't trust our memories; science has proven that we have a tendency to create memories. And when you start thinking about it, we probably can't trust our vision either. I recently visited the Museum of Science where they have a Seeing is Deceiving exhibit. In the exhibit, simple things a foot away appear to be distinct colors, only to be the same colors when you approach them. It blows my mind. I'm sure a scientific explanation, involving reflection and light, for why that happens exist but it still makes you wonder. How relative everything is, especially with senses, where everything is decoded in my brain with no way to compare what's in my brain to what's in your brain.  My perception of the color black is probably not the same as yours. We may associate the same constant perception with black because that is what we are taught and because black is there and we can see it. But it's all relative. Who knows?!

As for the question in the post title? Some people will say that anything you can experience with your senses is real and anything you can't isn't. Others will say nothing is real; it's all made up. And others will say a dozen plus other things. For me though, and probably many others, the answer is I don't know. That's just an answer I don't know. Although it is fun to hypothesize answers.

For all we know, we could just be an experiment some greater being is conducting, similar to how mice are experimented on -- I doubt they know they are in an experiment. And as easily as experiments with mice are thrown out, we could be thrown out too. Our existence could be completely meaningless, just a petri dish with redundant information.

And sometimes all that can leave you feeling a little despondent. That is until you remember that you are in fact just a tiny speck in the universe and that your time here is pretty insignificant in comparison to the universe's lifespan. And that is when you realize that you are living life for the little moments that matter to you, for the causes that matter to you now, and for the changes that will effect your life and the people around you. It's a choice, you can feel very little about yourself or you can continue living as if you matter. To make your life matter to your immediate time and not the universe's time. In the end, it probably won't matter to the universe whether I choose to go down one path in life or another, but living a fulfilling life for yourself is probably more enjoyable than a dull life because in your's and mine's relative mind, a human life is still a long time, I think.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

BINGO, Fall, and Time

There's this event at my university called "Not Your Grandma's Bingo." I might've mentioned it before in a post from freshmen year. But yeah, it just bingo with some awesome prizes. My floor went when I was a freshman; it was a fun time, a bonding time. And every year after, I attend it hoping that maybe this time around I'll win something -- I'm not really a lucky person when it comes to things like bingo.

This year, I didn't win either -- no surprise. But this year, it felt really different. And it's not that everyone there was a freshmen, no, in fact, I think it was evenly split among the four years. It's something else, a very different feeling.

It's not just the bingo event. It's everything, being on campus feels different. I don't have the urge to hide in my secret outdoor hiding spots. Or sit on the BU Beach/Marsh Plaza like I use to. I don't even feel like hiding on the top floors of photonics. Everything is familiar, but different.

Fall is also nearing. And it certainly feels that way, except my brain isn't there. My brain doesn't seem to want to learn at the moment. And it doesn't seem to want to tell my body to enjoy the weather, which has been gorgeous. I want to do so much this fall, and I think I am unconsciously overwhelmed. To which, I think my body is reacting by being indifferent.

My sense of time is also really screwed up right now. I don't feel productive; I'm late to things I'm not normally late to. But I have to remember, it's only been a week of classes. Actually, less than half a week of classes. But I feel like I have been here for a while. I think it has to do with the fact that I have several decisions to make this year that I've put off for a long while.

Maybe, I'm just not eating right. Maybe, I've just been interacting too much. Maybe, I don't know.

I don't feel much like myself. I feel different. Freshmen year felt one way. Sophomore and Junior year felt another. And Senior year is starting off weird. I need to just go sit in the sun and keep to myself or something.

(Ahh, I really don't know what I want to say in this post. So I'll just end it.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I See the Light Cover

It's been a long while since I've uploaded a piano cover to the Internet, Youtube specifically. And since then, my piano skills have deteriorated, not improved. But hey, it is what it is. This time I've enlisted my little sister Lisa to provide the vocals. Appropriately, the cover is of an Alan Menken piece from Tangled, originally performed by Mandy Moore. Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Morning Thoughts

1: I woke up tired. My brain has already been up for a while now. Racing. It's trying to tell me something significant, I know it, but I can't figure it out.

2: Something about the weather outside, the blue sky, the slight chill, it makes me feel like a 6th grader again, waiting at the corner for the yellow bus to pick me up and bring me to school. Yes, the early fall-like weather reminds me so.

3: I've been wondering a lot lately what kind of person I am. I see people living lives that I find interesting and meaningful. And other people living lives I don't want. I start to wonder where my place is among then. Surely, I want to live my own unique interesting and meaningful life. 

4: The cross path between engineering and art. Many people don't know how the inner workings of electronics work and to them it might as well be magic. I'm not trying to say I know exactly how they work. But I know enough that I can't just cast it off as magic. Science has been too deeply rooted. I love art and myth, and also science and engineering. Sometimes though, they have contrasting views. I'm just trying to figure out what my views are. 

5. I think these five four thoughts are linked with an underlying message. But like the first thought, I just can't figure it out.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Camera!!

I recently bought a new camera. It's a Canon eos M. I got it on sale during a flash sale online when they were offering it for $350 (with 18mm-55mm kit lens). There were some criticism toward the slow autofocus but I figured that since I'm a total beginner, it probably isn't a big deal for me. (Plus, a recent firmware update sped up the autofocus noticeably.)  But yeah, the image quality is just as good and sometimes better than a low-end DSLR. So I am content with my purchase. As of the purchase, I've been practicing my photography skills: playing around with aperture, ISO, and exposure. I think I am getting better at it. *shrugs*

Here are some of the photos I've taken:

Some construction work on Comm Ave. Right in front of CVS. BU Central.

Trying out the streaking car effect by messing with exposure. Facing Storrow Dr. from BU Beach.

Low light? Not a problem. The moon is absolutely glowing. Mass Ave Bridge view.

Sun peaking through. BU Bridge.

Sunset on the Charles. On the boardwalk underneath the BU Bridge.

Citgo sign and Prudential Center and bike lane. In front of Metcalf Science Building.

You can see more photos on my google+. Check it out hereeeeeeee! My google+ will be the official residence of my eos M photos. My iPhone photos will probably still end up on Facebook. WHAMP.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trying to get back to Blogging

Just a short blog post to get back in the habit of blogging. I think I've gotten into the habit of thinking that each post has to have a theme of sorts, that I shouldn't jsut ramble, try to add value to my post. But really, actually posting adds more value than holding back. So I'm just going to post regardless of if its comes off incoheisive.

So obesity is now classified as a disease by A.M.A. (American Medical Association). I don't know what I think about this. The discussion is all over the web if you want to join. What I'm more fixated on is the fact that one out of three Americans are obese. WHAT?! That's a crazy statistic. So high! Like think about if you were 1/3 shorter. That's a lot shorter right? I didn't realize obesity was such a problem. (Source: BU Today and links clicked from there).

It has to do with the way we eat. Americans don't really eat fresh or healthy.  I'm trying to keep myself healthy. I buy a lot of my produce from the farmers market, even tea! Ahh, yes, I've been going through a tea phase. Recently, I bought a few loose leaves all from local source. I didn't really want to deal with corporate Teavana. I'm coming to my own as to what kind of consumer I am.

I'm such a different person from when I was a freshman. I really can't believe I'm a senior. I've changed so much and I'm 21. I don't feel old, I actually feel the opposite. I've been hanging around with people older than I am and they are still at the beginning of their lives. That makes me even more at the beginning of my life, if there was such a thing.

The main difference between who I was before and who I am now is that I'm more alone. I don't try as hard to carry a conversation. I'm perfectly fine with silences during a conversation, I don't find them awkward. But yeah, I've become more of a loner as the years pass. But I don't think that's a bad thing.

(Some of these thoughts mentioned above might be elaborated in a future posts, and some might not.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I recently watched all the Indiana Jones films. I'd never seen any of them before that but I've heard positive things of them, especially of the first one: Raiders of the Lost Arc. I enjoyed them all. They are fun films that aren't terribly deep. They entertain perfectly though. The franchise's got a wonderful score by John Williams and two creative minds, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, behind it. All and all, they felt like the Pirates of the Caribbean films for me. Great, fun, and adventurous first films with followup installments that are definitely enjoyable but not as great as the first film. Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Indiana Jones film, is actually a really great film. There's a lot of good things going for it.

I don't intend to review these films. I merely just want to write down a couple of short thoughts I got out of it -- I did spend 8 hours last week watching these, 2 hours at a time, a film at night.

First, I really enjoyed the style of the films: adventure genre, real stunts, limited CGI, story/plot driven (as opposed to rapid action cut-scene paced), a young Spielberg's directing style, etc. For someone who's childhood took place in the 1990s to early 2000s, there's little nostalgia behind liking this style. I think I like it for the same reason I appreciate the Audio Animatronics at Disney.

I don't think I mentioned this on this blog but I am very tired of extensive CGI stuff populating our theaters; they all seem to also have this "destroy as much as possible" theme. And I'm done with that. Even the Great Gatsby wasn't as refreshing as I hoped. I really like going to the theaters but I can't convince myself anymore to see anymore of those types of movies. (I'm looking at you Man of Steel, War World Z, White House Down, Pacific Rim, The Lone Ranger). (Edit: I stand corrected about Pacific Rim. It is actually a great film. Go watch it! =]) It's summer, I want a fun adventure movie to get lost in (and a great plot would be a huge plus). Indiana Jones is that kind of movie, fun and fantastical. The kind of movie that makes you believe for a while in its existence, takes you around the world, and makes you want to be an archaeologist. It also proves that lack of great CGI does not break a film. (I have to admit thought that I did really enjoy Iron Man 3.)

Second, The map visual: the one where a map and some plane visuals are superimposed on top of each other with a route progressing toward Indy's destination. I really liked that. I'm sure I've seen this effect used in other films. But the use in Indiana Jones is particularly effective, especially for the geographically challenged person. It's a great way to demonstrate travel while actually specifying the route there and location in a timely manner. Showing a scene of just airplane visuals isn't specific enough since flying to Nepal and South Africa probably will look the same atop an airplane. But with the map, you get a sense of how far away Indy is traveling and the geographic location, AHH, so Nepal is in central Asia near China and India, gotcha.

Third, Marion Ravenwood. She is one of my favorite characters of the films. Her introduction in Raiders of the Lost Ark is excellent. She's very capable of herself. Although, in the face of Indy, she loses some of her stronger traits and behaves as a damsel in distress. Marion is damaged. And we quickly learn that Indy's the reason why. But despite that, she holds her own (most of the time) next to Indy and counters him perfectly. Also, in the words of Flynn Ryder, "Frying pans? Who knew?"

Fourth, the other female leads. In Temple of Doom, Indy's love interest was rather annoying. I think her name was Willie and for a good part of the film, she carried a red dress bundled up in her arms with her. I think I missed the point of that -- I watched these movies late at night so it's likely that I missed stuff. Elsa was the lead female in The Last Crusade. I didn't find myself liking her too much either. Elsa resembles what I think of a Bond girl: pretty, suspicious, smart, skillful, a femme fatale. Of course, I haven't really watched a lot of the Bond films so I don't really know what consists of a Bond girl either. The point of this is that I wasn't too impressed with Elsa even if she was willing to get messy. There are two females in the 4th film, a first in the Indiana Jones films. Marion returns, yay! The other female is the antagonist. I can't recall her name and although I can google it, I'm choosing not to. I believe she was Ukraniam and working with the Sovient during the Cold War period. She is actually quite an interesting character, her motives are interesting, and she was smart, but Marion's still my favorite, although I liked her character better in the first film than the last.

Fifth, Indy's interesting and cool. We don't know much about him besides the obvious. But we know just enough to make him interesting, kind of like James Bond. I do like how Indy basically starts as a nonbeliever in mythical powers only to be a believer at the end of each film. The film crew always gives Indy a non-mythical reason to begin his quest. It let's us the audience also embark on the trek at the same time as Indy and become believers when he does.

I'll leave you with Marion's Theme by John Williams -- It's one of my favorites from the films, along with Indy's Raider's March theme of course.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer in Boston: The Little things

When you walk across the bridge over a highway and hear a ringing hum you've never heard before, and look to see that it's just the sound padlocks make rattling along the fence when the wind blows.

Or when you read for an extended period in an open plaza, immersed in another's thought that you forget what your voice sounds like to the point that you don't say hi to a friend you see in the distance that hasn't seen you, since you forgot how to produce sounds.

Or when you jump when a leaf skitters across the sidewalk and you thought, for a second, it was a critter from the shadows that has come to claim you.

Or when you think you are just going across the street to the convenience store and end up halfway across campus without your phone, longing for it, since it's your only camera, and you've just rounded the corner to a perfect view of that supermoon.

Hmm, summer in Boston.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Art Hobby

I been going through an art phase. It started with the drawing class I took last semester and it's continuing into the summer. Actually, I don't think it's a phase anymore. I think it's an actual hobby now. I like art. And I like creating art. I'm still a novice, but I find it relaxing and calming. Somebody once told me that you don't have to be good at a hobby; all that matters is that you're enjoying it. (This person told me that regarding my piano skills, but it applies to all hobbies, I think.) 

Just this year, I've experimented with three mediums of visual arts (four if you count charcoal and pencil as different mediums). While, I think I will try the other mediums eventually, I think I am all set for now. I need to take some time to get better at these three mediums before I move on. Although, next on my list is probably colored pencils and markers, both of which I think are good fits for adding color to my drawing style.

The first medium I worked with this year was pencil. Pencil is kind of a safety net. I've held a pencil for a good portion of my life. I can control a pencil pretty well. Although, I mostly doodle with pencil, instead of focusing on a piece for an extended period. In my drawing class, I did a bunch of line drawings, mostly of still life with some shading here and there. Here's something in pencil done in class: a perspective drawing done completely free-hand, hence the wavering "straight" lines. 

The ceiling was kind of crazy with all the vents. Haha.
Next, I worked with charcoal. Charcoal was a new expereince for me this year. I had never tried charcoal drawing. I do find that I like it though. It's a very forgiving medium; nothing is really permanent until you add fixative. I'm not sure which charcoal drawings I want to share. I have a couple of crumpled paper, anatomy, and nude. Hmm. I guess I can show you a few. 

The subject here is a piece of crumpled brown paper. I think this drawing took three sessions, each about three hours long. I hated it by the end of it.

Here's an incomplete skeleton drawing I did. I think I like this one not because it's good but because of the composition and values. I like that the skeleton is hanging in a box and that for the most part, the skeleton is in a shadow and has pretty dark values. (The subject I referenced while drawing this is a real person's skeleton.)

Here's another anatomy drawing. Just some random body parts and more crumpled brown paper my professor put together for us to draw.
I actually only have one nude drawing on my computer. But yeah, this was done with a live model.
That's all for my class: pencil and charcoal. Since start of summer, I've been playing with colors. I like the vibrant colors of pastels and oil paints. So that's what I'm currently playing with. I've only tried oil painting once and there's nothing worth sharing (if you check my twitter, you can see that painting). Pastels I've tried a couple time, nothing fancy here either. But I do have a simple work I can end this post with.

I'm learning soft pastels myself. This composition and colors were stolen from an artwork I saw online.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Repairing Pokemon Cartridges

I've recently started playing Pokemon Blue (not pictured), which I have borrowed indefinitely from my friend -- I'm currently at Rock Tunnel. It has made me really nostalgic! I remember very well the routes, the Pokemon, the characters, the plot, everything. I think starting with my Pokemon Verilog Project from last December, I've been yearning to play the original Pokemon games. Something about not wanting to grow up or about trying to revert back to a simpler time. I think I just want to be the same wide-eyed, blissfully happy, and curious child I was. The child who dared dream of anything. For some reason, I seem to associate Pokemon with that child of the past and that somehow by playing Pokemon again, I can once again become that kid. But I know that's not true. And that living and wanting to live in the past is very dangerous thinking.

So I've come to terms that I just play Pokemon for what it is: fun. =]

(Plus, that kid never disappeared. She's still here. She just grew up a bit. That kid from the past is still a part of me. However, she's become just a single layer, a certain component, a specific aspect of who I am today. And I am content with that. Here's to forever continuing to grow as a person!)

Anyway, today and yesterday, I set forth to repair my old Pokemon games. These game cartridges are about a decade and a half old. So it makes sense that the internal battery has died. Back then, game data was not stored on non-volatile flash but rather volatile RAM. Volatile memory storage requires a small amount of voltage and amperage to keep the memory in existence. So since the batteries were dead, my Pokemon gamepaks were no longer saving. But it's an easy fix. All one needs to do is use tweezers to unscrew the fancy screw on the back of the cartridge, slide open the cartridge, pry out the old battery, and tape in a new battery. My gamepaks are repaired and I think they will last another 10+ years. I wonder what kind of fancy gaming will exist in the future . . . Will I still want to play the original Pokemon games? Hmmm . . .

Pokemon Red with a new battery taped in with electrical tape and Pokemon Gold with no battery at all.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Boston Strong

So many things transpired in Boston these past two weeks, climaxing with the Boston Marathon Bombings. It's all a little hard to swallow. But I would still like to take a moment to describe what happened, with pictures to help illustrate the emotional roller coaster Bostonians experienced.

So let's take it back to the day before my last post.

April 13th was a day of volunteering for many Boston University students, including myself. The 13th would be BU's annual global day of service (GDS), where current students and alumni rack north of 20,000 hours of service in one day. It's safe to say, many people were excreting positive vibes from a nice day of community service -- I know I was after a day of yard work at Spontaneous Celebrations.

April 14th was the day before the Boston Marathon. This was was a day of nervousness and carbo-loading for many runners. Everyone was gearing up for the marathon the next day. Students worked on assignments, knowing full well that they wouldn't have time to study tomorrow. Unfortunately, they wouldn't know until tomorrow afternoon that they wouldn't be able to study for different reasons than they anticipated: terror, disbelief, and sorrow. One of the things I did on April 14th was make a sign for my friend Anastasia, who was running her first Boston Marathon. I'm sure across Massachusetts, many family and friends were making signs of support.

April 15th was the day of the Boston Marathon. The above picture show the elite male runners. This was around mile 20, and let me tell you, they were still sprinting: my camera's shutter was not fast enough to capture entirety of the lead runner in time. I only got his leg. It's very exciting to see the elite runners from all around the world racing here in Boston.

And of course, non elite runners are just as fun to watch, including the charity runners, some of which sport costumes I wouldn't be able to last a hot day in, let alone run 26.2 miles. It's truly an inspiration to watch the runners go by; you marvel at their toughness and applaud and cheer them on -- they've worked so hard, you must cheer them on and prevent them from craving to their own self doubt. There's a quotation going around by Scott Dickey:
“They attacked the wrong industry. If you think about what it takes to qualify for the Boston Marathon, you’re talking about people that are pretty tough and pretty gritty already. They are used to being able to overcome, withstand and resist trauma.”
I think this rings loud and true. When you watch the runners pass by, you get a sense that they are the people who have the discipline to overcome and withstand any hardship.

All along the 26.2 mile route there are crowds of people cheering the runners on. It's quite a jubilant atmosphere. Everyone was having a good time, the runners and the spectators. None could predict what would happen next.

Within half an hour of the bombing, the marathon route was evacuated. Some 4,000 runners did not finish. And the city went into high alert. Shock engulfed Boston. But that did immobilize the spirit of Boston. The response in the aftermath of the bombings was incredible. The first responders were on top of the situation. Bostonians offered up their homes to stranded marathoners. Social media immediately took on the task of organizing the situation: connecting loved ones, spreading important information quickly, and informing those outside of Boston of the situation. And those who could not help physically cooperated and stayed out of the way. There was not a sense of chaos. It was very beautiful how the city of Boston reacted. I am impressed and proud to be a part of Boston.

But despite all the strength, everyone was sober and full of grief. This is a location that probably would not have finished celebrating until the early AM of tuesday. But atlas it was dead.

April 16th was a day of mourning. As the death and injury count started to come in, everyone had some relation to a victim of the bombings. The three deaths were all young people with promise. The events of the day before were starting to digest. And the realization that the city had been compromised seeped in. What plagued the next couple of days I think was more chaotic than the actual bombing. There was an uncomfortable uncertainty in everybody. Although everybody remained strong and vigilant as they tried to return to normalcy. But it took it's toll, people were weary.  The bombers had yet to be captured. And everybody was extra cautious and still on edge. Every hint of suspicious activity was called in. For me, it was the sirens that wore me out. The sirens continued nonstop, and it really eats at you. 

Just when things were starting to settle, a string of horrible events occured continuously starting Thursday evening. An MIT officier was shot by the suspects of the bombers and a massive car chase and manhunt followed. The death of the MIT officer was the tipping point for me; I was really tired and worn. I decided to sleep in hopes that when I woke all would be better -- I was set to volunteer at BU's open house. How wrong was I though. When I woke, I learned that one of the suspects was dead. And the city of Boston and surrounding towns were in lockdown and a manhunt was ensuing. And the sirens didn't stop. It did feel like a movie at times. The city was eerily quiet. I applaud the city of Boston for cooperating with the law enforcers and taking the lockdown seriously. Eventually, they got the guy.

There was an incredible display of strength throughout this entire ordeal. Law enforcers and reporters worked straight with little to no sleep. Everyone from the top politicians to us students took the events seriously. And the outpouring of support from everyone was incredible. Boston has deep roots of strength from the colonial days and I am so glad they are still present.

Even now, when Boston has returned to normalcy, people haven't forgotten the victims. People gather at Copley Square to pay their respects. To contribute to the strength and to support one another.

And all these, the spirit, the strength, the support, the pride, and the resolve, are what makes Boston such a special and unique city.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Obligatory Semester Update

I've made a big deal in the past about making a post on update of current semester. I don't really feel like talking about my classes this semester. But I'll do it anyways, since it's kind of an unwritten rule now. So here it is:

I'm taking five courses this semester: two of them are low level graduate electrical engineering courses: Intro to Photonics and Power Electronics for Energy Systems, one is physical recreation course: Kung  Fu, one is a visual arts course: Visual Arts Drawing, and the last is a regular electrical engineering course: Intro to Digital Signal Processing (DSP).

While I don't have a clear cut favorite course this semester, I do really like power electronics, drawing, and kung fu. Power electronics, I wish I had more time to put into it. It's getting neglected more than I desire. Power electronics is lab intensive though, which has made me realize that I like to just sit in lecture and absorb information. I think absorbing is much easier to do when tired than replicating. I think tired describes this semester well. I'm not really at full potential, just tired all the time. The reason I don't have time for power electronics is mainly because DSP takes up so much time. And the best part: I'm also doing pretty bad in DSP. Yay. Photonics is just a normal class. Kung fu and drawing are nice in that you don't have to bring the course home with you; there's no homework. You can just enjoy the class and not have to worry about it beyond the class. It's nice.

Shrug, that's all I have for this semester. But don't get me wrong, I don't dislike any of these courses. In fact, I find them all interesting and I enjoy them all, even the time-comsuming DSP. I just don't have much to say.

Here are my past updates:
Freshmen Fall
Freshmen Spring
Sophomore Fall
Sophomore Spring
Junior Fall

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


Blackbird by the Beatles
Blackbird singing in the dead of night,
Take these broken wings and learn to fly,
All your life,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise. 
Blackbird singing in the dead of night,
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see,
All your life,
You were only waiting for this moment to be free. 
Blackbird fly,
Blackbird fly,
Into the light of the dark black night. 
Blackbird fly,
Blackbird fly,
Into the light of the dark black night. 
Blackbird singing in the dead of night,
Take these broken wings and learn to fly,
All your life,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise. 
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
This song, in various versions, has been stuck in my head all week. Here's a Gaelic cover by Julie Fowlis that I really like. I wish the audience would just shut it though because it sounds so nice live.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Door Metaphor

When I think of opening doors, I think of opening doors to opportunities. Opportunities that lie beyond the open doors. So throughout my life, I've opened doors: I've done things so that I could do other things. Some doors were easy to open. And some were hard to open: requiring hard work, skill, and luck, similar to how one solves a riddle to open a door to a new dungeon in a video game. Closing doors was something I hated doing. Of course, I could always re-open a door but that would take time. I would even try my best to enter doors that would allow me easy access to the doors I've already opened. That way I would not be limiting my choice of available open doors.

But I feel like I've hit a standstill. Of course I haven't opened all the doors out there. But I feel like I can't just keep opening doors and going into doors that keep all my other open doors easily accessible. I am getting restless. I want to enter a door that might not allow me easy access to my previous doors. And maybe even a door that will close behind once I've entered or somehow trigger other doors to close. But I know for a fact that I must enter one of those such doors eventually; where my dreams lie are beyond those doors. And if I continue to just keep opening doors and not entering them, I won't ever reach my goal. So I feel like it's time I walk across the threshold.

What lies beyond those doors do look promising though. It's become a matter of which door to choose. Choosing a random door might be what I end up doing but I'd like to choose wisely. And maybe, it doesn't matter which door I enter. If I keep persevering and trying, maybe I'll end up at the same place regardless of which door I choose. Maybe I'm being dramatic and this choice doesn't even matter!

Yes, I think that's what I will choose to believe. Whatever door I take, as long as I honestly like it and keep true to myself -- as in don't choose a door that looks dreadful beyond -- it'll probably take me to the same place. I should just enjoy the experience of whatever it is that door I choose to enter has to offer. And I shouldn't be afraid that other doors might close and that I will be limiting my opportunities. I can always reopen them. And maybe those doors will reappear opened somewhere down the path.

What I got after writing this post is that I need to stop over thinking everything . . .

Monday, April 01, 2013

Being Naïve

When I was younger, my friends use to say things like this to me: "emily, you're so naïve." I would reply defensively, "no, I'm not." They would then say, "we mean it in a good way." And I wouldn't believe them. I would try to spew out some obscure example proving I was not naïve, to which they would nod and say, "sure, emily."

That was how I think most of my friends viewed me growing up. I was the naïve one. And even now, I still do think they think that, even my newer friends. So maybe I am naïve . . .

Being naïve, however, was never a compliment for me. Even now, when I have come to think of being called nerdy as much more of a compliment than being called cool, I don't find naïve something I like to be described as. I don't take offensive to it though. It's just, let's see, the definition for naïve from the Oxford English Dictionary is this:
Originally: natural and unaffected; artless; innocent. Later also: showing a lack of experience, judgement, or wisdom; credulous, gullible
So I guess all those things was/is me. But as you can see from the definition, being naïve is not something people, at least me, strive to be. I didn't want to be naïve. I wanted to be learned, cultured, and wise.

There were advantages of being naïve though. I looked back and realized that my naïvety allowed me to do so many things, things that people who were learned would not do, things present day me probably would not do. Because I was naïve, I wasn't afraid of many things. Not knowing the hard truths of our world meant that I could aspire to be a great pianist, I could write a novel, and I could invent a flying skateboard and/or candy that was both great tasting and healthy. I always thought I would succeed if I tried. I had naïve thoughts. I wasn't fearful; I would jump from the top of a 20ft high slide post when I was 3 ft tall for funs, seemingly unaware of the dangers of broken bones. I was hopeful: I would believe I could draw my own comics without realizing how terrible they were and how much it looked like bad, really bad, imitations of stereotypical mangas. And I wasn't afraid to try new things: I joined the gymnastic team in high school as someone who had never done gymnastic before and was not embarrassed. In a way, being naïve freed me to do the things I wanted.

I didn't realize how incapable I was until college, when I had become more learned of our society. And that's when I started to limit myself. I started to believe that I could do only one thing, that is become an engineer -- I was good at math and science and had a decent imagination, so becoming an engineer would be where I would succeed. I embraced any part of myself that was engineering worthy and casted the other parts aside, put them in the limelight. I was actually at one point concerned that I wasn't focused enough on engineering. I did however cling to my dream of one day becoming an Imagineer. And because of that I didn't completely eradicate myself of my other interest because I knew an Imagineer was someone who was learned in multiple subjects. But that is not the right reasons to chase and participate in things. You should participate in them because you have a joy in them and not because you need them for a job. And recently, I have rediscovered my joys for things non-engineering. I am enroll in an Drawing class and I really like. I'm also taking kung fu classes which I really like as well.

The way I described the pros of naïvety reminds me of what J. K. Rowling once said in her Harvard commencement speech that:
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
I think it's a shame that our society limits us so much. That to be learned and wise in our society means that you know how to choose the safest and most successful career, and how to manuer your path in life to obtain that career, that you had the self-dicipline to deprive yourself from going out and staying in to study. That doing what you want is something naive people and those who have failed do. That it takes some form of suffering to be freed from our societies bounds. That in itself is sad.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My 3 Steps to Getting Stuff Done

My 3 Steps to Getting Stuff Done:

1: I need to come up with the idea of whatever it is I want to do. If I want to build something, I need to come up with the design, I need to research, read wikipedia, gather supplies, and maybe even clean up an area to work in. Basically, all preparatory stuff to whatever it is I want to get done. Sometimes, the stuff I need to get done is a task that somebody else has assigned to me, which is great, or not so great because this step can be fun, because step 1 is already done for me. Step 1 is my favorite step though; I love thinking of new ideas and using my imagination.

2: I need to START! This is the hardest step for me. I have tremendous difficulties in starting things. I have no idea why. Maybe I'm just lazy and a very good procrastinator. Sometimes I can start but then once I take a break or get distracted, I'm immediately back at the beginning of Step 2 and need to start again. Starting again is just as difficult, sometimes even more difficult. I think I spend just as much time on this step as the other two steps.

3: Do. You just need to stop thinking about getting stuff done and just do it. This one is tricky because you can easily stop doing and end up back at Step 2. When I'm in Step 3, I am adequately prepared -- I'm not hungry, I have energy, and I've done Step 1 and Step 2. So all do during Step 3 is do. I find that once I get over the starting process, I'm a pretty efficient doer. Sometimes I can work straight and for long hours. That's usually the case when I program. On multiple occasions, I would prepare to program, start programming, and just program until I am done. I will forget about the distractions, the fact that I wanted to make tea, the fact that I'm tired, the fact that the task was daunting. I just do.

Monday, February 25, 2013


I will gladly admit that I like change, spontaneity, chaos. I don't like doing the same things everyday or to know what I'm doing on any given day beforehand -- I live day by day, especially since I'm so busy and can't plan past tomorrow anyways. But I've realized that doesn't apply to all facets of my life. I do in fact want stability in certain aspects of my life, like health. I want to be consistently healthy.

But in order for that to happen, I have to eat consistently healthy. I eat very sporadicly. I'm on the two ends of the spectrum; sometimes, I will have a healthy and balanced meal, and other times I will eat instant noodles and chips for dinner. It's kind of a problem. So I'm going to try to fix that. I'm going to try to have three meals a day with lots of snacks. Breakfast is usually lighter for me than lunch and dinner.

This morning I had Nutella on a single piece of multigrain toast. For lunch, I will be having some braised tofu and a tiny bit of chicken with white rice and an Izze -- I made it this morning. I also have a wide range of snacks to get me through the day: fruit-gummy snacks and SunChips. For dinner, I'll probably have some form of soup and leftover tofu and rice. I haven't thought of what type of soup exactly though.

Braised Tofu and Chicken. This was my first time making it. It came out okay.
Sleep is another thing I need to work on. I want a high energy level, like when I was a kid. (When I was a kid I had a bountiful of energy; I was the type of kid who would hike ahead of my parents during a hike but then be too impatient to wait for them to hike up, so I would hike back down to meet them and repeat.) I know, it's ambitious. But why not? My energy is fairly low nowadays; I usually only exert energy when I need to. I'm also pretty lazy. But that's because I sleep an average of 5-6 hours a night. I also don't drink coffee or soda and the teas I drink are mostly decaffeinated. I'm not about to go and get my energy from caffeine though. I like that I don't have to rely on it. So I'm going to turn to the super underrated sleep. I feel, with a consistent number of hours of sleep, I can regain at least some of my childhood energy. And that would be more than I have now. This past weekend I started the process of sleeping well.

That's great and all that I had the ideal 7.5 hours of sleep last night and that I had breakfast and cooked a balanced meal, but really, that all means nothing if I don't eat or sleep well tonight. I need to be consistent. I know I will not get 7.5 hours of sleep every night. But I'm determined to make up the sleep I miss. The target daily amount of sleep is 7.5 hours. I've written a program to keep track of my sleep debt/credit. (It's currently written in MATLAB code, my native language. But I'll translate it to C++ code later for easier execution in the terminal later.) This program will help me keep track of how many hours I need to make up on the weekend. It can also help me not enter the slump of oversleeping -- it's a real thing -- by telling me how many extra hours I've slept. The goal is for the sleep debt/credit to be as close to 0 as possible. As for how to stay consistent with food. I think I can trust myself. Eating consistent for me is just to remember to eat and not be lazy. I generally buy healthy items. The key is to remember.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

World's Fair Postcards

I went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts this past friday. One of the temporary exhibits they had on display was "The Postcard Age." It's really cool. If you are around the Boston area, check it out. I only took four photos there. But oddly enough, three of the four photos, 75% of the photos, were of world's fairs. I haven't thought about it enough, but I am certainly attracted to the aesthetics, personality, and characteristics of the world's fair. Maybe its the grandeur, the international togetherness, the cultural exhibitions, the themes, the technological inventions, the extremely optimistic and progressive thinking, I don't know. It's something though. One of my favorite Disney attractions, the Carousel of Progress, was introduced at the 1964 New York World's Fair. (Other Disney Attractions introduced at the 1964 New York World's Fair include: It's a Small World; Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, now Hall of Presidents; and an early prototype of the Peoplemover.) As much as I love imperfection, nature, and authenticity; I also love the science and technology utopian. Ah, such a clash of interest.

Anyways, here are the postcards I photographed:

Exposition Universelle of 1900, Paris. The bright colors are made by shining light through tissue paper.
A Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago, 1933.
1939 New York World's Fair
This is the non-world's fair photo I took. It's of the women's and bicycle movement. I've always liked the bicycle as an analogy for liberation.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Self-Entitled Student

I think our society has created a monster: the self-entitled student. I'm not exactly sure how our society created it, but it exist and it's not particularly beneficial to our society or the student.

The self-entitled student I'm talking about is the kind of student that feels he/she deserves something but from a purely objective view does not. I'm not talking about rights here; everybody is entitled to their rights. I'm talking about opportunity, credit, praise, success, etc. The self-entitled student will walk into a class and expect to walk out with a passing and pleasing grade because they showed up and did the bare minimum. And if he/she doesn't receive a pleasing grade, he/she will complain that the course is too hard. The self-entitled student will believe that since he/she chose to go to school and learn instead of working a minimum wage job, he/she deserves a better job when he/she graduates. As you can see, the thought process is flawed: going to college does not merit you a better job and showing up in class and doing the bare minimum does not mean you deserve a good grade.

I've started to notice that the self-entitled student is particularly prevalent at my university or at least at a more intense level of self-entitlment than at other colleges. This is because BU exhibits grade deflations in certain classes. (You know, instead of inflating a grade of say C+ to a B-, a B is deflated to a B- because so many people scored an A and in order to keep the standard bell curve consistent, the grade is deflated.) But typical BU students will think there's grade deflation in all of their classes and mentally inflate their own grades up. So a B student at BU will consider himself/herself an A student if he/she attended some other college. But that's not true since most classes at BU do not employ grade deflation; the majority of classes stick with a no inflation or deflation policy or a bell-curve grading system that benefits the student. See how this sort of thinking will further increase a self-entiled student's sense of self-entitlement?

And because the self-entitlements of these students are coupled with their expectancies to succeed, they experience a sense of struggle. But most of the time, the struggle is not really a struggle. These self-entitled students are just so use to receiving credit for so little effort that the bare minimum work needed to pass in college feels like a huge burden to them. They also become frustrated that they need to work. They think of their other friends who are not working as hard as they are -- for a variety of reasons: different classes, different schools, natural talent, previous exposure to material, etc. -- to receive the same grades they are and believe it's unfair that one of them has to work harder. They don't appreciate the knowledge they are learning. This feeling of struggle and frustration are detrimental to a person's psyche if experienced too often and for long durations. But I've also noticed that self-entitled students don't tend to want to remedy their feelings of struggle and frustration. Instead, they bear it as a badge of honor that they are working hard. But if you are following my logic, this struggle and frustration is more pronounced to them then it actually is. So in other words, they are feeding their own self-entitlement and are kind of stuck in this circle of self-entitlement.

These self-entitled students believe they deserves jobs. They for some reason though don't believe they are equally self-entitled to get jobs. A sense of competition develops. If a friend gets a job, they not only believe they should too but also resent the friend for getting a job before them.  Sometimes a riff forms. But more often then not, these riffs are passive aggressive. Plus the self-entitlement continues in the work force, expecting a higher salary than deserved.

I do find this all deeply troubling. All this bothers me. It comes down to the fact that there's not enough doing and too much talking. Not enough authenticity.

And it of course comes barreling down on my self-integrity. My mother instilled in me early in my life that when something went wrong it was my fault and not somebody's else. Oh how I would try to blame a bad grade on the teacher's lack of teaching skills. But to my mother, that was never a good enough excuse. And to that, I an thankful; to that, I can recognize my own self-entitlement. I don't think a purely self-entitled person can admit to that. They don't take criticism well. But I have of course grown up in this society that has produced the self-entitlement student. So I do believe I exhibit those traits from time to time, despite what my mother has ingrained in me. What I suffer is a mix of the two, I think. Externally, like when I'm talking to a friend, I will readily blame others for my misfortune because that's what society expects to hear -- oh man, I am ashamed of that action though -- I will try not to be self-entitled at all now that I can recognize it. But internally, I will blame myself -- deep down, I tend to blame myself.

So there you have it, my thoughts on the self-entitled student. A quick google of "self-entitled student" will show you results from others who describe it so much better than I have. They are interesting reads. Do check some of them out.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Copying Concept Art

I just spent the last hour copying some concept art, probably done during the storyboarding phase of production, from well-known animated films. Guess the films? That's easy, Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away and Disney's Aladdin. Harder question: guess the scene?

The aladdin sketch is copied from art by the amazing Glen Keane. I have no idea who drew the Spirited Away one, so I'll just credit it to the equally amazing Hayao Miyazaki and staff.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Really Quick Update


A couple things real quick, since I have class in 18 minutes, and I still need to walk to class; it's about 5-10 minutes away.

First, I want to show you my light show that I made mostly over break and finished this week!

I wrote a post last year about having the initial idea and the excitement behind it, but I couldn't bring myself to post it because I was afraid I wouldn't finish it. A lot of work went into this project, from threading 600+ strands of fiber optic strands through needle-size holes to glueing the fiber optics in place to programming the light sequences. My work paid off. This project came out pretty well. I do admit that in my head, it was grander than it appears above.

Second, I have a twitter now! Yay! (Actually, I've had it for quite sometime but I just didn't know what to do with it.) I'm going to be using Twitter to post/tweet 105 firsts I will accomplish this year. I kind of made it my goal to try new things this year, so we'll see. Some of the tweets will be pretty dull, but others I think will be interesting. Who knows? I don't. The link is on the right with the hashtag #emily105 -- I'm smilling right now because I successfully claimed a hashtag for myself. =] The actual twitter handle is @ewlmonkey. So follow, if you're interested. (As for tweeting status updates, I'm not quite sure about that yet.)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Biking in Snow

Last night, it snowed. It was a light dusting but I like it when it snows at night. It's very peaceful. (I've written about snow before, here.) Snowing at night is still peaceful for me even when I'm outside and not warm and cozy indoors. Actually, last night I was in the snow: biking. That's a first for me. Biking in the fresh snow, you start to hydroplane a lot. You may have last experience hydroplane while driving, it's that moment where you lose control of your vehicle, and the tires sort of lose grip of the road and slide a bit. That's hydroplaning. You can imagine that to occur more often with slippery snow and bike tires that are designed for less friction. I was very careful and biked on the sidewalk when possible, especially since I didn't have my helmet or light with me.

Biking in Boston has gotten a little bit more dangerous. I'm not really one to change my habits because of freak accidents. But the thing is that two freak accidents involving cyclists happened late last year in the span of a month: one cyclist got clipped by a public bus and died, and another cyclist collided with an 18-wheeler truck turning right from the left lane and also died. Both of them were BU students. These tragic accidents have put a bit of strain on the university and its students. University officials, city officials, students, and parents have started to wonder if these two accidents could have been prevented. There are a lot of opinions. Some even try to put blame on the cyclist for their carelessness, which I don't agree with but I'll save you from my rant. I also can't help keep the question "what if it was me?" out of my head. It easily could have been me. Surely, my parents would be devasted. And of course my life would be over. So I bike now with these tragedies in the back of my mind.

RIP Chung-Wei Yang and Christopher Weigl and other Bike Accident Victims. =|

Here's a tribute for Christopher Weigl at the site of collision of the second accident I mentioned. I just recently saw this last week. It's a very nice act of thought.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Hello 2013.

I'm back in my on-campus apartment, back in Boston, and back to start another semester.

Break was nice. I did a lot of sleeping. I caught up with some of my high school friends. I've also applied to a couple of internships. And I even worked on a personal project: a light show. The light show is almost done: I've diligently built the display, wired the circuit, albeit sort of messy, and wrote a program to write code for me. So all that's left is to have the program I wrote write some nice sequences to display. It's been tedious work, especially the building of the display part, but I am happy with the results, however crude it is.

This semester will be a good one, I feel and think. So, I look forward to this semester. Well, I'm going to go relax some more: make sure I'm well rested -- I don't want to start this semester tired. =]

I'll leave you with a picture I took today of my prism doing it's job, that is separating white light into red light, orange light, yellow light, green light, blue light, indigo light, and a little bit of violet light.