I'm levitating

Author Archive

Proof that CoVID Vaccine Ain’t No Placebo

My body had responded even though I didn’t feel any reactions at all

Long time no write, you guys! The last year or so was definitely the strangest and most challenging year in many people’s lives, myself included. But for some reason, I found it difficult to write about anything. That is until today when my friend Vera shared with me her Health Metrics Dashboard on her Fitbit app where she easily correlated her reactions to her Pfizer vaccine. That got me super excited and I rushed to check my own Fitbit app.

You see, on Saturday, April 3, I received my first dose of the Pfizer CoVID-19 vaccine at a local CVS store in Half Moon Bay, CA. Funny thing is that I had no reactions whatsoever. Nothing on the day. No feelings on the following day, either. Majority of my friends including Vera felt the so-called protein spikes with symptoms of mild fever, body aches, and fatigue. I on the other hand felt nothing. Maybe the Internet trolls are right. Maybe I got a placebo!! A hoax vaccine for a hoax disease!

Not so fast, Internet trolls! While it’s true that I didn’t feel anything, my Fitbit is telling me that my body reacted just the same. My resting heart rate graph showed that my RHR spiked the day after I took the vaccine. In fact it broke out of my 30-day personal range. The same was true with my breathing rate (BR) which also exceeded my 30-day personal range. The third telling metric, my heart rate variability (HRV), dropped precipitously the following day to the bottom of my 30-day personal range as well. These three health metrics on my HMD behaved in similar manner as suggested by an early CoVID-19 detection study. But unlike in the study, my metrics returned to normal after two days since I wasn’t really sick. That makes perfect sense!

Q.E.D. 🙂


Mewtwo? Me too!

Today I got a Mewtwo!!

Today I got me too a Mewtwo!! 🙂

Perseverance: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.  But don’t let Merriam-Webster fool you though.  It is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of success.  Luck and talent are far more preferable.  However, for the majority of us who belong in the fat belly of that Bell curve, perseverance means everything.

After persevering in the game of Pokemon Go for almost two fruitless years, I finally received a EX raid pass to participate today in an exclusive, invite-only, grandiose battle with fellow steadfast trainers to have the chance at beating and capturing the game’s most powerful pocket monster aka Mewtwo.

And just like a perfect Disney movie, the disadvantaged underdog, the ugly duckling, the black sheep, the fish out of water, in the end, she rises up triumphantly through perseverance and becomes the unlikely heroine and saves the world.  #Mewtwo

 


Fidget Spinner is Legit EDC

My modest EDC collection so far

My modest EDC collection so far

My modest spinner collection so far

I have admired the EDC lifestyle for a while now.  EDC is about the minimalist expression.  EDC is about life’s basic functions.  People need security and peace of mind which are enviable foundations for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It makes sense.  But until recently, my entire EDC arsenal has only consisted of the Original Slimmy by Koyono, the Massdrop Brass AAA Pocket Flashlight, and the Fitbit Alta HR (of course!)

Well, let’s just say things in my EDC world have escalated quickly.

Walgreens fidget spinner; my first

Three weeks or so ago, I had to go on a hunt because my kids needed something called a fidget spinner. Having failed to deliver them a Unicorn Frappuncino (that’s a whole another story), Super Dad cannot fail again, right!? After calling and visiting several area Walgreens stores, we finally found it. My kids were satisfied. And I was forever changed.

Just look at that spin, y'o!

Just look at that spin, y’o!

Most of my coworkers and friends are skeptical. But there is an inherit attraction about a good fidget spinner. Craftsmanship is first and foremost. That’s obvious. But there is a very visceral connection between humans and metals, too. Put a good looking piece of aluminum, copper, titanium, tungsten, brass, or stainless steel in your hand. Feel its weight and temperature and connect with it for a moment. Right? Also the design language is unmistakably universal when it’s done right. It doesn’t matter whether the fidget spinner is made in Russia, China, Vietnam, or the good old USA. You understand it. Last but not least, I’m talking about functionality. Having a piece of well-designed and perfectly-machined fidget spinner in your hand, you can spin away all your nervousness and worries and focus on what’s important at the moment. For me, that’s writing this blog. Right now!

Worry-free focus

Worry-free focus

Finally a fidget spinner is legit EDC. It fits perfectly in your pocket unobtrusively. With so many awesome fidget spinners to choose from nowadays (or you can design your own), it is great for personal expression. As a mental focusing tool, its utility is undeniable. Most EDC gear is about tactical, physical utility. Fidget spinners are all of that and they help you get tactical about your emotions, too. You’ll want to carry something like that everyday, right? Right!

Fidget spinner is legit EDC.


Observability for You and for Me

One digital health metric I now track almost religiously

One digital health metric I now track almost religiously

I caught a cold about two weeks ago on a Sunday night. I thought I stayed home to sleep it off on Monday, July 18. But this thing escalated quickly! When I went to see the doctor on Thursday, she told me I was about to get over it and that I just needed to rest to recover. Boy! That recovery took more than a week. Thanks to my trusted Fitbit Charge HR, I was able to track my resting heart rate and feel confident that I was on the path of recovery.

Before I started tracking my RBPM, I had no idea that it’s so much correlated to my overall health. Even though I was just laying in bed all day when I was sick, my resting heart rate went from 64bpm to all way up to 80bpm in just a few days. Clearly my body was fighting valiantly and my one health metric confirmed it for me!

Come to think of it, as an engineer, I know so much more about the machines that I work with in the data centers but I hardly know anything about the most important machine of all aka my body. At Fitbit and at Twitter, we routinely collect thousands and thousands of metrics about any single machine every minute of every day but we hardly know anything about our own bodies. Here’s a video of a short talk about the Observability Team at Twitter talking about how many metrics or times series they collect very minute. (Hint: it’s in the billions!)

So why do we know so much about computers in data centers but so little about ourselves? Wouldn’t it be nice to have metrics collected continuously about our bodies so we can analyze their patterns and create alerts for potential health issues? Wouldn’t knowing exactly how our bodies have been behaving make it easier for doctors to treat us when we’re sick? Today Fitness tracker is just in its very infant stage. I can’t wait until the day when we know as much about our bodies as we do about the machines around us. Digital health metrics are coming! Mark my word. 🙂


Does a POTUS Trump Mean End of Democracy?

The Donald and Hillary

“If The Donald becomes the President of the United States, I’m gonna leave the U.S. and move to XYZ!” I’ve heard this and similarly emphatic statement repeated by a lot of people in a jokingly manner, many of whom are dear friends that I respect. But let’s take a moment to examine the logic here. The fact that anyone can become the President in America is what makes America America! That is the essence of American democracy. And that is the pinnacle of the American Dream where every single one of her citizens should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. This is the clearest and most direct evidence that our democratic system is working. So why leave?

Perhaps the problem isn’t the system. Perhaps the problem lies with the people because the President is elected in America by people, more specifically by people who vote (or don’t). And who sits in the Oval Office as Commander-in-Chief is determined by your vote (or lack thereof). So for better or for worse, the system cannot function properly without the people doing their part. Too often in the corporate world I see people get together in a meeting to debate an issue, make a decision, and yet turn around and keep doing things their own way even though the team had decided to do things differently. The lack of leadership and lack of teamwork always hurt the team. But it’s amazing how many bad actors are out there!

Of course I’m talking about voters not doing their civic duties. Just think about how many friends you know complain about the justice system and yet the same friends also complain about serving jury duties! I’m also talking about leaders not being leaders. Specifically I’m talking about a President not able to work with both sides of the aisle. I’m talking about Congressmen not supporting their Commander-in-Chief because of political differences. I’m talking about passive aggressiveness instead of constructive teamwork. So hooray for The Donald to stir things up a little and remind us all what complacency, egotism, and indifference can quickly lead us to. Just remember Germany was too a functioning democracy before all hell broke loose in 1933.

So tell me where will you move to when that happens again? Stick around and let’s make this system work, Murica!


Follow Your Heart

My resting heart rate

My resting heart rate for the last six months or so!!

Since Twitter and I parted ways last June, I had a relaxing four months of funemployment where I was basically chilling and keeping it cool. I took my kids to school. I didn’t exercise or anything at first. I just kept it cool. I drank coffee with friends after dropping my kids off and maintained a manageable lunch schedule before picking my kids up again at the end of the day. Yeah I took some trips with family and friends and read a lot of comic books too. Cool comic books like The Walking Dead and Pretty Deadly. In other words, life was dead cool.

Then I went to talk to a few friendly folks at a company called Fitbit on September 2 and unexpectedly they gifted me a fitness tracker with a heart rate monitor! I went out for a run the very next day with my Charge HR and had a blast. All of a sudden I was running like three times a week! I decided it was time I got #MovingOn! Thanks to keeping it cool all summer, my resting heart rate was a cool 72bpm. And with regular exercises, I got it down an even cooler 67bpm! Cool!

But alas, that’s when life took a turn. I was so happy with my Charge HR, I started working at Fitbit. And once I started working, I stopped working out. And on top of that, I was stressing out because I wasn’t working out. Three months of indolence and stress kicked my resting heart rate up to a very uncool 82bpm. Then I remember, dude, you gotta keep it cool, right!? So I signed up for a cool gym and started working out again in February. And after two months or so, I’m happy to report that my resting heart rate is now back at a cool 65bpm! Very very cool.

So what’s the lesson here? You have to follow your heart. More importantly, with the right Fitbit tracker, you can also follow your heart rate too. And that’s real cool!


一 (A song by 江海迦)

OneByAgathaKongOnce in a while a music video so goofy and so cute that it makes you not only watch it until the very end but also over and over again.  Of course it helps when the song by Agatha Kong is really actually that good.  But the real genius behind the music video is its authenticity.  I mean who hasn’t lingered around cafes, libraries, shops, bus stops, etc. just to spend a little time with a certain somebody.  While the shy demeanor of the boy in the video may appear weak at first, it is in fact a quiet statement of consistent devotion.  So very classic Asian albeit in the backdrop of a modern Italian coffee shop in Hong Kong.  🙂

Hope you will enjoy the music video as much as I have.


Maximally Connected

How many ways can you reach me!? :D

How many ways can you reach me!?  😀

Just in case a simple phone call doesn’t work…

Since you already have my phone number, you can always text me.  No texting plan?  You can definitely WhatsApp me (U.S. and Hong Kong friends), WeChat me (Mainland Chinese), Ka-Talk me (if you’re Korean), or LINE me (all other Asians + Taylor Swift).  Don’t have my phone number?  No problem.  Emailing to my Yahoo! account also works.  But of course, since I have an Android phone, I have a gmail account that I sometimes use as well.  Since you have my email address, that means you can surely YIM me or do a hangout with me.  Don’t got my email address?  Fine.  Why don’t you just send me a Twitter DM, a Facebook Message, or a Instagram Direct then?  I don’t even want to talk about slack.

Hey I’m just talking about the apps shown in the screenshot of my phone above.  In additional to those, you can send me a message on LinkedIn, Skype me, or simply leave a comment below in this blog post!  I’ll read it… soon…

Such is the state of connectedness in this day and age.  But I would much prefer a quiet chat over coffee if you know what I mean.  Though my guess is both of us will be constantly checking our smart phones.  #OhWell  😉


Lunchtime!

Let us eat!Ever wonder why some people are such workaholics? The Super-Rich like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffet are always working and working and working despite having achieved incredible success.  Is it because they enjoy their jobs so much that they simply cannot stop?  Maybe.  Or is it because there is something else that’s driving them?  Who knows!

All I’ve learned so far having been funemployed[1] for almost three months now is that I need a steady lunch group.  I miss having lunch with my friends and colleagues regularly between the hours of noon and 1pm.  Managing different lunch dates and coffee breaks and so forth with various people throughout the week has just been too taxing on me.

It’s the Wild Wild West out there, my friends!  The lunching scene is simply brutal, man.  You’ve gotta trust me!  Last minute cancellations!  Reservations!  Parking!  You gotta deal with parking.  Write that one down.  Never forget parking.  And then you’ve gotta make sure you are fair to everybody in your scheduling.  And what about those subtle rejections?  I didn’t wanna bring it up but all these things take their toll on ya.  The lunching scene is just too stressful, to put it mildly.

I’m ready to get my steady lunch group back!  That’s one of the reasons why I go to work.  It’s lunchtime!


[1] Thanks to my former coworker and friend Nhu for this term.  I’ve never heard of “funemployment” until she used it on me!  #Genius!


Moving On

JoggingWent for a jog yesterday.  It was so hot out I barely felt like moving at all.  Then all of a sudden, a group of young runners passed by me and just like that, I picked up my pace and followed them for like a mile and a half!  It was definitely faster than what I would have done on my own.  I am of course very sore today but it feels great.  That’s pretty much what it’s like to be part of a team.  So with renewed energy and enthusiasm, I am to begin looking for my next team. #MovingOn


Keep Calm because I’m Back!

I spent the last three years and change working at Twitter where I had such an amazing time that I kind of neglected the o.g. blogging in favor of microblogging.  Well, no more!  Now that I am unemployed, I shall dedicate more time to the art form that’s never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few!  No longer am I restricted to 140 characters! 😀

Before I blog away the O.G. way, check out the above YouTube video that I made that kind of sums up the last three years of my job.  Enjoy!


無人之境 (A Song by Eason Chan)

無人之境

作曲:Eric Kwok
作詞:黃偉文

讓理智在叫著冷靜冷靜 還恃住年少氣盛
讓我對著衝動背著宿命 渾忘自己的姓
沉睡的兇猛在甦醒 完全為你現形
這個世界最壞罪名 叫太易動情 但我喜歡這罪名

**驚天動地只可惜天地亦無情
不敢有風 不敢有聲 這愛情無人証
飛天遁地貪一刻的樂極忘形
好想說謊 不眨眼睛 這愛情無人性

若世界陷進大騙局裡面 朋友亦難以發現
共你隔著空在秘密通電 挑戰道德底線
如若早三五年相見 何來內心交戰
我信與你繼續亂纏 難再有發展 但我想跟你亂纏

**

即使間整個約會情調幽暗似地下城 還是算溫馨
多麼想跟你散步橋上把臂看著風景 但是我清醒
月亮總不肯照亮情慾深處那道背影
你我像快快樂樂同遊在異境 浪漫到一起惹絕症

不想說明 只想反應

Here is the version from Eason’s DUO concert back in 2010. Eason is always better live!


Dark Days Ahead


Aight, if you haven’t watched the video above, then you are in for a HUGE surprise! I found out about this video from my former coworkers and friends over dinner a few weeks ago. To warn ya, I couldn’t even finish half of it the first time I watched it. So you might wanna sit down and grab onto something solid before viewing it. Go ahead and watch it before reading on. God bless and good luck!

[Spoiler Alert!!]

So finally I did manage to watch enough of this video, my raw reaction was an unsettling mix of disbelief, anger, shame, and a nervous creepy kind of LOL. At first (like many of the onlookers) I was like “what the hell is going on?” Then I was like “this dude better man up RIGHT NOW!!” Next I was angry at the girl thinking “yo sister you’re not even pretty! Not at all! So WTF girl!?” (Some lady actually said that out loud in the video!) At last I broke down laughing uneasily. Finally I went to bed all worked up. All I could think of was…

Dark days ahead for Hong Kong men

The next day I shared the video with who else but all my Hong Kong guy friends. Their general conclusions were…

  • This video is fake (I assure you that it’s not fake. Check out this Wikipedia page)
  • Stay away from Hong Kong women (I assure you that this is good advice in general)
  • Dark days ahead for all men (I assure you that this is how all guys felt right after)

So by this time I was like…

Dark days ahead for all men

Pretty serious business, right!? But then I was reading more about this incident which amazingly happened a few months ago without any of my knowledge! Turns out there were tons of backlash and public outcry against the slapper chick. She was even arrested by the police but the dude wouldn’t press charges so she was let go quickly. Score one for True Love! So apparently and quite justifiably, we’re now at the familiar stage…

Dark days ahead for Hong Kong women

No wonder all Hong Kong men prefer to find girlfriends outside of Hong Kong! But you know. After more thinking, this is nothing but a tragic case of abusive relationships caught on video. Most abusive behaviors occur behind closed doors so you don’t get to see them. And most instances of relationship violence are committed by men who are physically stronger then women. These two factors make this particular crime all the more unbelievable and extraordinary. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that in this video the slapper chick is the mentally stronger person here. And mental strength counts! All the classic abusive relationships require a mentally and emotionally stronger abuser AND a mentally and emotionally weaker victim. That’s why abuse victims don’t just walk out of their abusive relationships because they feel mentally and emotionally trapped. In this video, we don’t immediately think of the dude as the abuse victim because he’s a dude and that’s counter-intuitive. But abusive relationships are so much more than just physical dominance. Domestic violence is ugly and you can stare at it right in the face in this video. This is dark and serious shit, yo! Abusive relationships are bad for all victims: men and women.

Dark days ahead for all

Well, I’m not done yet. Now after all that, this video can hopefully be used to highlight the ugliness and destructive powers of abusive relationships. Thanks to technology, we can now share these videos virally and provided that we associate the right kind of commentary and awareness with them, we can begin to educate and teach everyone how to spot these crimes and help the helpless. So…

Dark days ahead for all abusers

Guys, you are now free to date Hong Kong chicks.
But still I don’t recommend it!!


Smile A Little


Sometimes when you feel like everything is going against you and nobody seems to agree with you even on the most obvious stuff, it is important to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. Take your eyes off of the tree and open yourself to the whole forest as the proverbial saying goes. Why try to solve the problem with the same mindset that created it in the first place as Einstein would have told you personally? Breathe, relax, stop banging your head against the wall and do something different. Go somewhere else! Jump to a different energy scale! A different parallel Universe! Smile!

This video cover of one of my favorite Chinese songs Yin Wei Ai Qing does exactly that for me. It reminds me of more basic and more fundamental things. It is okay. Smile. Everything is gonna be just fine. Because everything already is.

The original videos of Yin Wie Ai Qing (因为爱情), performed by Faye Wong (王菲) and Eason Chan (陈奕迅), can be found on YouTube below.

Enjoy those too!


Legions (A Song by Zoe Keating); Frienemy (A Poem)


Back and forth, back and forth
And back and forth
Back and forth, back and forth
And back and forth

Arguments fly, words spoken
The theater is set
Intentions lie, promises broken
The theater is set

Walk with me
Don’t walk with me
Happy to talk
Please don’t bother me

Sea
Trees
Birds
Path
Decision


Conundrum Indeed!!

Bolivia

I don’t get it!!

My physics training has always deprived me of a certain level of enjoyment from the science fiction genre. As much as I have tried, I could almost never get into anything serious with “time travel” or “parallel Universes” in it. To me time traveling is a lazy writer’s excuse to avoid creating a real plot.  And I’m too much of a Copenhagen interpretation guy to accept parallel Universes.  Just can’t do it.

That is why I was so surprised by my utter admiration for and attraction to the TV Series Fringe, which has copious uses for BOTH time travel AND parallel Universes.  Okay, Season 5 kinda let me down but still it was an enjoyable ride throughout.  Was it as epic as the re-imaged Battlestar Galactica? Probably not. But it did deal with the total annihilation of not just one but two humanities.  Was it as romantic as the X-Files? Probably not.  But there were more love stories in this series than just what’s between Mulder and Scully.

Overall I will make the rare recommendation for Fringe and put it as the only member in the list of movies and TV series that I enjoy watching with both time travel and parallel Universes in its plot lines.


Olivia or Bolivia? (A Poem)

Olivia! Bolivia!

Which one will you choose?

Olivia or Bolivia
Not quite the Chicken or the Egg
But no ordinary trivia
Either

Choose one or the other
More like the Princess or the Faery
To whom you shall marry
Oh brother

This is no paradox
Enigma or conundrum
Because the answer is clearly
The latter


April 15, 2013

My TurboTax 2012
As certain as Death herself
And as inconvenient as the birth of a child
Which explains why I naturally do so many things to delay it. (Doesn’t it?)
To procrastinate it. (Is that even grammatically correct?)
But I’ve never ever gone beyond the deadline
And do you know why…

Because today we get to ponder the really important questions in life
TurboTax versus TaxCut
Itemized or Standard
Is deduction an act of deducing or deducting or both?
Do I have to pay AMT for State and/or Federal?
There are just so many philosophical gold mines that we can’t ignore any longer
To file for extension would be… unhealthy
Like quitting smoking or… unsportsmanlike
Like punting on 3rd down which I have witnessed by the way. Totally bizzare!

On April 15, we get to take introspection to a whole new level
What you do on this day says a lot about yourself
Whether you’re a planner or a procrastinator
Always looking for a loophole, always trying to game the system
Or cursing yourself for missing your FSA reimbursements
Again
Year after year
Well that is a whole different blog post I’m telling ya
Filing that one right under “Helpful Social Programs”

In any case, I love this country
As do so many Americans
Singularly the reason why we wait until the last day to write our checks
Just a polite way of saying I disagree with your policies
Whatever they might be
I call it Freedom. Democracy. Free will
And most importantly, Murica!
See you again next year


The Saddest Song in the World (A Song by Meiko)


I wake up and you’re gone
The TV’s still on
And I sit and I watch another rerun
She is left all alone
Her lover’s out to sea
And I can’t help but feel that she is just like me

And I gave all I could but it wasn’t good enough
And you said that you would be here before I woke up
Now you’re gone

I don’t know why my heart still beats
And I can’t feel anything

Cuz I gave all I could but it wasn’t good enough
And you said that you would be here before I woke up
Now you’re gone away
Now you’re gone away

Why don’t you take me with you?
Come and take me with you
Come and take me with you
Come and take me with you

Cuz I gave all I could but it wasn’t good enough
And you said that you would be here before I woke up
Now you’re gone


Shape of My Heart (Magic by Shawn Farquhar; a Song by Sting)

He deals the cards as a meditation
And those He plays never suspect
He doesn’t play for the money He wins
He don’t play for respect
He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of a probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart

He may play the jack of diamonds
He may lay the queen of spades
He may conceal a king in his hand
While the memory of it fades

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart
That’s not the shape, the shape of the heart

And if I told you that I loved you
You’d maybe think there’s something wrong
I’m not a man of too many faces
The mask I wear is one
Those who speak know nothing
And find out to their cost
Like those who curse their luck in too many places
And those who fear are lost

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart
That’s not the shape of my heart
That’s not the shape, the shape of my heart


Mighty: The Awesome Korean Card Game

Mighty was played here

Mighty was played here

My dear friend Daniel Chun taught me an awesome Korean card game called “Mighty” when I was a student at UCLA years ago. Recently I taught Mighty to my 8-year old twins and they loved playing it with us. While Mighty is best when there are five players, you can also play with just four or even three. I’m recording the rules as I had learned from Dan here so anybody can pick up Mighty and enjoy.

Quick History

According to Dan, Mighty was invented by a bunch of really smart students from Seoul University way back when.  Guess they were all experts of the game of bridge but as everybody knows… Oppas love to drink. And bridge is you know… not very Gangnam.  So I guess they wanted to add some awesomeness to the traditional bridge game so Mighty was born.

The full Mighty game is played by five players using the standard 52-card deck plus one joker.  The four-person Mighty game uses 43 cards instead of 53 by getting rid of the deuces, the fours, and the two red threes.

Special Cards

There are only 3 special cards in the game of Mighty.  They are the Mighty, the Joker, and the Joker Caller.

  • Mighty aka the most powerful card in the game. It beats all other cards and always wins the trick (or round). It can come out at any time and the mighty always wins.  Usually the ace of spades is the mighty unless spades are the trump suit.  In that case, the ace of clubs aka the other black ace becomes the mighty.
  • Joker aka the second most powerful card in the game. The joker always wins the trick save for the following three exceptions
    1. If the mighty is played in the same trick as the joker, the joker loses to the mighty.  Remember that the mighty always wins. No questions asked
    2. When the joker is played in the first or the last trick, the joker has no power and always loses.  So use the joker wisely after the first but before the last trick
    3. When the joker caller leads a trick and calls out the joker, whoever holding the joker must play the joker and the joker loses all powers and always loses.  So don’t get called out, y’o joker! The only exception to this exception is that if the joker holder also has the mighty in which case she may choose to play the mighty and win the trick
  • Joker caller aka the nemesis of the joker. If you lead the trick with the joker caller, you have the option of calling out the joker and render it powerless.  Awesome!  But just like the joker, the joker caller loses its power when it is played in the first or the last trick also aka you can’t call out the joker with the joker caller during the first and the last tricks. Typically the three of clubs is the joker caller. But when the winning bid is a clubs contract, the three of spades aka the other black three becomes the joker caller.

One interesting characteristic of the joker is that it has no suit.  Because of that, the joker can come out at any time.  And if you begin the trick with the Joker, you have to specify the suit you want and the others have to follow your suit.

Deal

Each player is dealt 10 cards with three hole cards set aside face-down for the contract winner aka the highest bidder. That’s 53 cards in total. The dealing starts with the friend from the last game (or the contract winner if no friend was called upon) and continues clockwise around the table. What do I mean by friend? Read on! If this is the first game, a random person is chosen to be dealt first.

Bidding

After the cards are dealt, each player will have 10 cards in his or her hands. The standard contract bridge bidding starts with the person who was dealt first and continues clockwise. The minimum bid starts at 3-clubs which means you (and your partner) are expected to win 3 out of 10 tricks with clubs being your trump suit. Another example, a 8-hearts contract means you (and your partner) are expected to win 8 out of 10 tricks with hearts being the trump suit. The order of suits from low to high is clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades, and no-trump. The contract is won when all the other players have passed on their chance to bid. The contract winner gets to take the 3 hole cards into his hand but must put back three cards that she deems least desirable before start of play.

One extra note about bidding is that once the contract is won, the winner can still “up” the contract by raising it higher.  One reason may be to get more points.  Another reason may be to get to a more favorable trump suit.  You may raise the contract before viewing the hold cards by upping one level, e.g. from a 7-heart to a 8-heart or a 8 clubs to a 8 no-trump.  In any case, raising the contract after viewing the hole cards require two levels, e.g, from a 7-heart to a 9-clubs or a 8 clubs to a 9 no-trump.

Re-shuffle

Before the bidding is complete, any player can declare re-shuffle if  she has a really bad hand.  The definition of a bad hand is that her hand must all be lower than a 2-ten hand.

Calling Your Friend

Unlike the standard contract bridge game, in Mighty your partner is not predetermined.  Before the start of play, the contract winner calls out “the friend” (aka partner but we don’t use that old-fashioned term in Mighty) by announcing a card that she needs.  The player who holds such card is “the friend” and becomes the partner of the contract.  Together they must beat the contract to win the game.  The friend is not allowed to identify himself or herself until after the friend card is played.  If the contract winner feels adventurous, she can elect to call “no friend”.  In such case, she will be playing against all the other players at the table in this game.  The mystery of the friend and the buried hole cards add an extra dimension of variability that makes Mighty much more enjoyable and fun than the standard old-fashioned bridge.

The Play

After the contract is determined and the friend is called out (but not identified), the contract winner starts the first trick.  However, the first card played must not be a trump card (unless of course if all you have are trump cards).  So it is kind of dangerous because you always have the chance of getting trumped during your first trick (unless of course if you lead with the mighty!) The winner of the first trick begins the second trick and so on and so forth until all ten tricks are played.  Standard bridge rules apply here with the exception of the 3 special cards mentioned above.

Scoring

Scoring is pretty easy.  I’ll illustrate it by examples.  Let’s start with the contract of a 7-spade bid.  And the contract winner (aka the caller) and his friend have won 8 out of 10 tricks.  That’s one more trick than the 7-spade contract calls for.  The score then would be 7*10 + 1*5 = 75 points for the caller and 37.5 points for the friend.  The friend always takes home half the score, positive or negative.  Another example, say the contract is 8-diamond and the caller and his friend have taken all 10 tricks.  The caller would get 8*10 + 2*5 = 90 points while the friend gets 45 points.  But let’s say the caller and his friend loses on a 7-hearts bid by capturing only 6 tricks.  That would be -7*10 = -70 points for the caller and -35 points for the friend.  Had they only captured 5 tricks, that would be -7*10 – 1*5 = -75 points for the caller for being down 2 and -37.5 for the friend.

So far so good?  Now the funky part.  For no trump suit, everything is doubled.  And if the caller calls no friend, that’s doubled too.  And if you call a 10-bid, that’s another double.  So the maximum score in one game is the ultimate 10-no-trump-no-friend bid.  Quick.  What’s the pointage?  Yeap, that’s 800 points if you win and -800 points if you lose.  (Fine, you actually can lose more than 800 points if you are down 2 or more but we just cap it at -800 points.  Don’t ask me why!)

Anyways, Dan and us guys would often get together and hang out near the Kerchoff Coffee House on the UCLA campus and play Mighty well into the night.  We’d usually declare a winner and start again when somebody reached 1000 points.  But you can make up your own way to enjoy.

Korean

Wanna learn some Korean?  When you call Mighty your friend, you say “mah-fu”.  When you call Joker your friend, you say “joe-fu”.  When you call no friend, you say “no-fu”.  That’s about it, my friends.  Happy Mighty!!


Diablo III, let me go!

Doctor Jademan Wong

Jademan Wong the Tanking Witch Doctor

Yes, I have been inactive in my blog for a while now.  But it was not entirely unexpected. I mean I did warn you in my one of my previous posts 133 days ago that Diablo III might just come and sweep me away. And that it did. And then some! During my journey to dark places such as Fields of Misery, Dahlgur Oasis, Stonefort, and Silver Spire, a lot of things have apparently transpired in the so-called real world. Something about a big international sports event that happens only once every four years even the Queen attended. Also something about a fat Korean dude dancing on YouTube. And last but not least, Obama lost the re-election. Or did he? But then again, who cares? Because they killed Deckard Cain, man! It’s Deckard Caaaaaaaaaain, man! I’m still mourning for the guy. Rest in peace, Cain the Elder. You have surely rocked my world!

But seriously, I do so hope to slowly come back to reality and start blogging regularly as soon as possible. I mean my Witch Doctor Jademan Wong has only about another 76 paragon levels to go. No big deal, y’all! #InnerPeace


Love of My Life (A Song by Queen)

Thank you.


Social Networking


me: Yeah, I tried this wine last week and it just blew me away and guess how much I paid…
friend #1: $29.99 no tax no shipping. Saw your tweet. Sweet!

me: Dude, this Caesar salad I just had for lunch at Mixt Greens was so delicious…
friend #2: No, you didn’t. You checked into the McDonald’s around the corner on foursquare. And you supersized your fries!

me: Oh, I just came back from Shanghai yesterday. And there was this BEAUTIFUL temple that was just…
friend #3: I know. I saw your pictures on flickr. Awesome. Can’t believe flickr is accessible from behind the Great Firewall though…

me: Remember that a-hole Joe who used to work with us from years ago. The guy who couldn’t even tell the difference between ls and cd?  I just ran into him the other day and guess where he works now?
friend #4: Technically he doesn’t have to work anymore.  He joined LinkedIn after you got him fired and they went IPO.  I also saw on Pinterest that he’s buying an island in the Bahamas and got an evite to his house-warming in Atherton…

me: Honey, I enjoyed this movie very much.
Honey: Liar! Why did you write “Kill me now!” on your Facebook status then!?

me: Wow, this is amazing. My friends know me so well! I’ve got to blog about this.
friend #5: So you’re done playing Diablo 3 then?