Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day 1 of fitness tracking

I bought a fitness tracker. It was a bit of an impulse buy but I needed one because my heart constantly feels like it's going to explode. So I reasoned that I needed a fitness tracker with a heart rate monitor to reassure me that my heart is actually (not) going to explode.

I got up this morning and took the 5 up to the Union Square Best Buy to pick up my order and then walked to work. NYC is actually awesome for detours like this; it added hardly any time onto my commute to go to Best Buy before work. It helped that the 5 is an express train.

I got the Garmin Vivoactive HR. It has a heartrate monitor and GPS, so I can track my runs without my phone. It took forever to get set up with my phone. I need to turn off practically all of the notifications from my phone or else it'll drive me insane.

It's going to take some getting used to wearing a watch again. I feel so constrained having something on my wrist all day. I'm not sure I'm going to get used to it. We'll see how it feels after a week and if I'm still wearing it after a week. I need to wear it for a week or so just to make sure my heart rate is normal.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Underarmour is my official footwear of choice

My basketball shoes are UA and now I have a pair of running shoes/EDW (every day walk). The Speedforce Speedform on these are actually amazing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Playing with photography

I recently bought a 35mm prime lens1 for my camera. I bought a camera that was on sale last year and I haven't figured out how to use it yet. I've wanted a DSLR camera for a long time and since I've gotten it, I haven't used it much. I shoot on "auto" most of the time and it produces much nicer photos than what my phone can do.

I'm using the prime lens as my "everyday lens,"2 which means it's my primary lens, so when I go somewhere I only carry this lens. Its focal length matches that of the human eye, so it'll capture photos at roughly what you see. I've found that this lens in particular takes really good portraits of people. Shooting with a prime lens also simplifies part of using a DSLR. There's no zoom (since it has a fixed focal length). I still shoot almost exclusively on AUTO but I do sometimes play with the aperture mode. I found this guide to be extremely useful and helpful.

Being in the city3 is great for photography since there's always something to photograph, like a building, a landmark, or people. It's also great because you can just blend right in with the crowd and no one really cares if you're taking a photograph.

1 I did an in-store pickup at Best Buy, which was actually really quick and convenient. I've never done an in-store pickup before.
2 This nomenclature is borrowed from EDC or "Everyday carry."
3 If you're in the United States, there is only one "city" and thus it can be referred to simply as "the city."

Sunday, July 3, 2016

My June recap

It's July, already! Where did my June go?

I was sick for most of it. I got a science1 infection after MJ's wedding. That was brutal because I had to move out of my apartment in Michigan, sell my car, and drop off a bunch of stuff at the Salvation Army. So I was sick and didn't get much sleep for 2 weeks and then I had a nagging cough for another week or so after that. I took a lot of Dayquil/Nyquil/Tylenol and I would get carded a lot for buying cold medicine.

Then, I moved to New York!

It would have been much more daunting, arriving via plane and living in the city, if I weren't drugged up on cold medicine for the first two weeks I was here. I have a temporary place to live right now in the Chelsea area. It's right across the street from Dave's place so I can be creepy and see into his apartment.

There's a lot of people that I have to catch up with in the city now that I'm healthy. There's been a lot of drinking, even though I should probably cut back since I have high blood pressure and sometimes it feels like my heart is going to explode. There's also been a lot of walking; I'm averaging about 5 miles a day now.

My oldest sister came into the city for her birthday and we got Dim Sum and went to a Yankees game. It was Old Timers Day, so it was like a game and a half.

It's been gruelingly hot in the city and I don't like wearing t-shirts or shorts. I did wear shorts the Yankees game, however, and I ended up with a brutal sunburn on my knees and lower thighs. This is what I get for never going out in the sun, #CSvampire. And now, I have the weirdest striped tan on my legs.

Meanwhile, I found a studio in the Financial District so I have to pack up my two suitcases move into my new place in the next couple of days.

1 Sinus

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

May Flowers

It's been a busy past couple of months, so I have a bunch of blogging to catch up on.

May was filled with weddings and travel.

First, I flew back home for Melissa and Jordan's wedding. It was a really fun wedding, and it was our first family wedding. It was also the first wedding party that I was in*. There was a lot of dancing, a paper cup tea ceremony, lots of photos, and I got to meet my new brother-in-law!

* Remember how I was asked to be in an acquaintance's wedding party and I turned him down?

Marco and Jedy's wedding was the week after in the Bay Area and, my goodness, their venue was gorgeous (see above). It was at a beautiful vineyard and they had a nice, small, quaint ceremony and reception.

I really enjoy going to weddings. I get to catch up with a lot of good friends and family. We get to drink and dance and have a merry time. They're happy events, and happy is good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Zen of Motorcycles

I've been tempted to get my motorcycle license. In Michigan it only costs $20 for a course after which you can get your license. Plus, parking for motorcycles is pretty widely available most places.

I like these older looking motorcycles. It's like a motorcycle Captain America would ride on.

However, I will never ride a motorcycle because so many things can go wrong while riding a motorcycle. I could just fall over while sitting at a red light and then not be strong enough to lift it up off of me. Or falling off while riding and skinning myself all over pavement. Or just plain getting hit by a car and going flying. Or fall into a pot hole and then go flying. Or slipping on a turn while it's raining on wet pavement.

So ultimately I've convinced myself that there are enough bad things that can happen to you while riding a motorcycle where I won't ever ride a motorcycle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pixel Art

Kevin and I made these about a year ago. I borrowed the idea from some artwork that I saw in a bar in SF. We ordered a bunch of canvases and paint off of Amazon. Then we picked up a couple of paintbrushes at a local art store.

We designed these on the computer using a 24x24 grid. Then it was just fill in the color in each of the squares.

It turns out each bottle of paint is a lot of paint. We also needed to apply a lot of paint in order to make the colors dark enough so that the underlying grid we drew didn't show through.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Trying out the "cloud"

A week or so ago my family went through a huge hassle to try to get an iCloud shared album set up. And I'm still not convinced that we have it properly set up.

In one of my attempts to join a shared album, I thought I had to enable iCloud drive, but my storage exceeded that of my free iCloud provision. So I bought the bullet and decided to pay for additional iCloud storage. I got the $2.99/month plan for 200GB, which is about one hipster coffee a month (slightly less, sometimes)*.

* Meanwhile my subscription plans are starting to add up. Currently I have Netflix, Spotify, and now iCloud. When I move to NYC and get rid of my car, I will free up my monthly car insurance expense so I might add the online HBO too. But I'd be doing that strictly for John Oliver. Great show.

So finally, I think we got it to mostly work with about 3 or 4 members of my family having set up a shared album correctly. Invites to shared albums disappeared and reappeared. Shared images were "shared" but didn't show up in other people's phones. I really don't trust Apple to do the cloud right and yet, they're the only company that I'm currently paying for a "cloud" service. And they mostly convinced me by making it incredibly cheap. I turned on the option to let Apple automatically sync my photos and it has been taking a while to upload over 23,000 photos from my computer. It's been over a week now and it's only uploaded 14,000 of my 23,000 photos. (I still have yet to figure out a decent workflow for my DSLR photos but that's a post for another day)

Also, as a result of having access to over ten thousand photos on my phone, it's pretty much now impossible to find a particular photo that I'm looking for. E.g. I want to find that cute Yoshi photo from a couple years ago. Impossible. I want to find that picture of DH in a trench coat. Impossible. I want to find a picture of dinner from that one time. Impossible.

Every so often I like to look back and marvel at the technological progress that we've made over the past few years. Like how I can easily watch a movie on my TV now that I rented and downloaded from the Internet without having to have the correct cable to hook up my laptop to the TV*.

* Remember in college how we were always looking for the correct adapter and cable to hook up to the TV in the dorm lounge

This is almost the moment where I can look back and marvel at how cheap and accessible cloud storage is now.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spectating eSports

I've recently, in the past couple of years, gotten into watching professional Starcraft. If you had told me this just like 5 years ago, I would have admitted that it is kind of strange. Nowadays I still wouldn't even consider myself much of a "gamer." Starcraft 2 is the only game I play with any regularity. I'll play some sports games (Fifa, Nba 2k, Madden) and some Halo during VGN*.

VGN stands for Video Game Night. Colloquially it's pronounced "Vegan" night. The most historical moment during a VGN session was when we took a break to eat pizza and watch basketball, we inadvertently started Linsanity when we watched Jeremy Lin come in against the Boston Celtics.

I forget that sometimes I live in this bubble where in my work and social circles, watching eSports is a casual event. I can throw around gaming terms and names like "Day9" and most people would recognize the reference. However, in talking with regular people, it can get a bit strange:

"Hey what'd you do today?"
Me: "Oh not much. Got up, made some coffee, watched some Starcraft"

I was, however, pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago. We met one of Chris's friends during brunch and they actually weren't taken aback when the subject of watching eSports was broached. I actually think that casual gaming has gone fairly mainstream.

Commentating is the main draw of watching eSports. The commentators bring a great deal of excitement to the game. This stands in stark contrast with some of the boring, boilerplate commentary of real-life sports.

There are still several aspects of watching Starcraft where I can't really keep up. I can hardly keep track of different players; there appears to be a large amount of churn within professional gaming. Then there's a bunch of different teams and sponsors and tournaments and geographical regions. I've been following sports for practically all of my life, so I guess this is what it must feel like to people who are new to sports like football or baseball.

I haven't had the chance to go to a live eSports event. Unfortunately the Starcraft season was over when I was in Seoul so I didn't have a chance to watch any games. Maybe next time.

Sidenote, if you're interested: a while back, The New Yorker had a great article on eSports.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weekly update

"You're not confusing, you're just odd"

  • When I moved to Michigan for grad school, I arrived with only two suitcases. I eventually had three boxes of stuff shipped to me. I remember taking the bus to the mattress store. I was fresh off of my adventures in Seattle where I got the naive notion that I could take the bus everywhere.

    I remember walking into the store and asking for the "cheapest mattress." At the time, my bedroom in my apartment was small enough to only accommodate a twin mattress. So I got a twin mattress, a mismatched box spring, and frame for about $220. It's been the same mattress that I've had for the past 5 years now.

    I got a new pillow, so that's why I bring this up.

  • I've gotten back to playing basketball recently. I got new shoes and we've played about 3 times in the past 10 days. I forgot that I play in such a way that maximizes pain on my body. I'm in really horrible shape. Sometimes this leads to blinding migraines (literally I lose my peripheral eyesight). Other times I get really bad leg cramps. When I got back to my apartment, my leg cramped up when I was taking off my shoes so I was on the floor of my apartment in debilitating pain for the next 15 minutes while I waited for it to go away.

    I had also forgotten how much I enjoy playing sports. Sarita once asked me if there were anything that I liked more than watching TV; I responded with playing sports.

  • I'm not particularly good at ironing. I was ironing my shirts earlier today and it still takes me forever. I also don't iron the sleeves because I'm not particularly good at it and it's not clear that there's much benefit. I convinced my psychiatrist to get a steamer instead of using an iron for his shirts. He doesn't have to wear a tie because there's a risk that his patients will try to grab him by the tie and choke him.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Walking in the snow

It's March so it's probably going to be snow's last hurrah here in Michigan.

Ever since I moved in January, I have been taking the bus to work and have been walking back. I always found an evening walk in the snow to be really peaceful and contemplative.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Snapchat is useful for drawing diagrams


I had a very productive last Saturday. I got a haircut, went to the bank, got coffee at a coffee shop, went to the farmer's market and went for a run. Then played some lawn games with Evan and his lawyer friends and went to the Distillery with Claw, Evan, Bri, and friends.

Yesterday (Saturday) I played basketball and took a nap. My new basketball shoes were a bit stiff since I hadn't broken them in. The traction on them are insane though. Though I think the ability to stop on a dime puts a great deal of force (or torque?) on my knees and feet.

I also got this spam periodical newspaper in the snail mail yesterday. As I was reading it, I realized I had gotten accustomed to seeing Internet comments at the end of articles. In print, there aren't any comments. It's quite refreshing actually.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New basketball shoes

Unfortunately they're not orange.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Live Yoshi cam

I was watching Yoshi this past weekend, so I set up a live stream to watch him while I was away from my apartment.

It actually worked quite well. I bought a Raspberry Pi a few months ago and it was sitting around doing nothing and I had a spare webcam that I took from my parent's house over Christmas.

Now that Yoshi is gone, I've been using the setup to monitor other things in my apartment. Like today, I used it to watch my slow cooker when it was making chili all day.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Random grab bag of sorts

  • I'm still getting used to my new apartment. I live right by some railroad tracks. Trains don't go by very often, except for in the middle of the night. Also there's only one set of tracks, which I found to be rather odd. A week or so after I moved in, my downstairs neighbor came up and introduced themselves. They were apologizing for how loud their bird was being, which I hadn't noticed until they pointed it out. Also one of my other neighbors has a couple of dogs that bark a lot. I basically live in a zoo.

  • LJ has instituted the "8 or higher" rule on me. I've been watching HIMYM again. It holds up surprisingly well. Much better than Friends.

  • I've been eating a lot of chips lately. I think I've just been craving salt -- which is bad for my blood pressure. I can't even substitute it with candy either since I'm giving up candy for Lent.

  • Fight Song is a great song. I've been listening to it for months now after they used it for a Supergirl trailer. I really do wish that Supergirl were a better TV show. Meanwhile, The Flash is still really good and so is Legends of Tomorrow. Hurray more CW TV!

  • I bought a safety razor. It takes forever to shave now and I still cut myself all over. It's still better than the crappy Harry's razor I used all of last year. I honestly think that the Mach 3 is still the best razor out there.

  • On my previous movies list I forgot The End of the Tour. The Infinite Jest movie. It was really good. And now I want to go read the book. Luckily it's in my stockpile of books that I've bought for my Kindle.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Yoshi in a box

I moved again at the beginning of January. I tried to sneak Yoshi out in a box without LJ or Sara noticing.