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
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.
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.
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!
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.
Once 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.
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 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!
 Thanks to my former coworker and friend Nhu for this term. I’ve never heard of “funemployment” until she used it on me! #Genius!
Went 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
這個世界最壞罪名 叫太易動情 但我喜歡這罪名
不敢有風 不敢有聲 這愛情無人証
好想說謊 不眨眼睛 這愛情無人性
我信與你繼續亂纏 難再有發展 但我想跟你亂纏
Here is the version from Eason’s DUO concert back in 2010. Eason is always better live!
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!
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!!
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!
Not quite the Chicken or the Egg
But no ordinary trivia
Choose one or the other
More like the Princess or the Faery
To whom you shall marry
This is no paradox
Enigma or conundrum
Because the answer is clearly
From the movie July Rhapsody (男人四十) comes one of my favorite Chinese songs. Enjoy.
模擬找到 模擬傾訴 模擬很好
模擬起舞 模擬擁抱 模擬得到
何時得到 何時失去 誰能猜到
With thousands of years of history, modern China presents many situations of contrast for the photographer in me. Please enjoy three of my recent photos from Shanghai.
Within the shadows of the rising skyscrapers in Shanghai, you can still find a few roosters here and there oblivious to the incredible economic boom that has been happening all over China.
Claudia Schiffer or inner peace? How about both? In Shanghai you can go from a bustling modern shopping mall to a serene thousand-year-old temple just by crossing the street.
The top five best selling books inside the Great Walmart of China are an eclectic mix of Western and Chinese classics and modern writings.
- Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson (translated)
- Sam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton and John Huey (translated)
- Confidence and Hope: Interviews with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao edited by Xinhua News Agency
- Journey to the West by Wu Chengen; Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Antonius (translated); Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia by Baltasar Gracián (translated)
- Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay (translated)
I saw a random news report on a TV monitor in a bus during my vacation in Shanghai, China last couple of weeks. I mean there are LCD screens everywhere in Shanghai these days. Malls, restaurants, buses, taxis, elevators, even bathrooms! Anyway I saw this really cute girl crying at a press conference on TV looking really really sad. I had no idea who she was or where she came from or what she had done. Anyways, that sad face stuck in my mind so I googled after I came back from my vakay and found her music videos on YouTube! Here’s my favorite and here’s another good one. (Remember there’s no Google, Youtube, WordPress, Facebook, and my dear new employer Twitter behind the Great Firewall!! Argh!!)
Turns out she’s a young singer from Hong Kong namd Shiga Lin (連詩雅). And what happened was somebody had leaked a few embarrassing photos she took with one of her ex-boyfriends when she was sixteen and madly in love. In other words, she didn’t do anything wrong. I mean who doesn’t have embarrassing photos!?!? (Attention all my ex’es: don’t worry. Yours are safe!!) Now that she’s done her sentence but apparently committed no crime. I’m gonna give her a plug on my ultra popular blog and my vast social network! Here’s a list of her videos on YouTube and Youku.
Shiga, you now have a new fan in me! You go girl! Be true! Be strong! Be alright!
I started this blog on WordPress (my first post) after a job opportunity took me back to the beautiful city of San Mateo. But now it looks like yet another job change will take me back to San Francisco. It is definitely a bittersweet decision for me personally because I do feel very connected to this tiny city. It is gorgeous, clean, and very safe. Lots of good eats everywhere. Many of the people that I have met while working in San Mateo are special to me. Some more special than others of course. You know who you are.
I will miss working with you, antagonizing you, making you laugh, making you dance, drinking with you, solving tough problems together with you, working super late with you, working super early with you, making fun of you, being made fun of, challenging you, being challenged, shooting you, being shot at, and last but not least taking walks with you.
Good-bye and take care!
(01:46:49 AM) bryce: i gotta write up a blog post
(01:47:24 AM) Joyce: about what?
(01:47:31 AM) bryce: free will
(01:47:46 AM) Joyce: what made you decide to write about that?
(01:47:58 AM) bryce: well, obviously!!!
(01:48:16 AM) Joyce: lol
If you had listened to the Radiolab broadcast called No Special Now (or related ones like Choice or Is Free Will Really Free?), you would have learned that free will often times seems like an illusion. In other words, your brain is merely fooling you into thinking that you had made a decision to call Sarah while in fact that decision has already been made for you even before her beautiful face entered your conscious thought. This idea was pioneered by Harvard professor of psychology Daniel Wegner. So in other words, you’re not really in control even though your brain tells you that you are. I disagree.
Well, here’s why. Just because it’s NOT your brain that came up with the idea to tell you to call the princess of your dreams doesn’t mean it’s not free will. Guys know what I’m talking about. Obviously it’s your little bro telling your brain to tell you to call Sarah! But that’s still your little bro, bro! It’s still you! That little bro ain’t somebody else’s little bro. Or the devil’s, right? Hello! You wit’ me!? Who says free will has to live inside your brain, bro!? It don’t! Free will lives inside of you! And any body part in you should be able to step up and tell you what to do!! That’s still free will, my friends! Free your mind, bro!
Just to make sure you understand what I’m talking about. Your little bro is your heart.
Listen to your heart!
Here is a true conundrum to all of us nerds who are also capable of romantic endeavors aka matters of the heart not just of the mind (or brain if you are so neurologically inclined). Imagine the not-too-distant future where teleportation is just another commonplace green technology to rid us of our dependence on fossil fuel, much like the electric car. Yay! Beam me up, Scotty! Or Geordi if you belong to my generation. But in any case, don’t you realize that if teleportation were indeed possible, that would imply that we could clone people!? I’m talking about the technological prowess to break down and transport all necessary information right down to the atomic/molecular level and re-ensemble all of it to teleport me from Chinatown in San Francisco to Koreatown in Los Angeles. Yay! Beam me up now!
You see? If we can do that, what’s to prevent us from sending the same information to Seoul, Korea at the same time? Man, I could be paying a visit to two different room bangs in two different cities simultaneously! The physics of cloning is now clear! Cool!
Not so cool! Because that would really mess things up. Biologically, that means I would live forever because I could just keep replicating my transported self over and over again. However, this conundrum is not relevant at this time. A later blog post perhaps? What’s really upsetting to us romantic nerds is that cloning is a direct assault to the holy concept of “The One” aka “True Love”. By definition, “True Love” is one-and-only (c.f. how to find true love) so how can we have two of me if I’m your “The One”. Right, girl? Baby, I can explain… Please don’t run away… Hey, where you going!?
See the conundrum!? But wait! Maybe we can’t really transport anything perfectly because there is that problem of quantum coherence (look it up!) Maybe it’s not really the same old me that shows up in K-town!? I swear I feel like a different person in K-town but that’s a different story. Anyway, if the teleported me isn’t me, that would mean that we’re not technically teleporting! So what do I give up: scientific fantasy or romantic fantasy?
I know! I know! Dr Steven Levitt of Freakonomics says names don’t matter. But 5,000 years of Chinese heritage in me say otherwise. I mean you honestly want me to believe that if I step into that office, I’m not gonna have some Scandinavian adventures? And of course, arouse by any other name would smell as sweet, too!
Hey, Love Bird! You! I’m talking to you, Love Bird! When your lady whispers into your ear that you’re the one she’s dreaming of and that your heart fits her like a glove, she is undoubtedly confessing to you that she’s found her true love in you. And by definition that means you two are destined to be soul mates and to live happily ever after, perfectly matched like Prince Charming and Snow White. The two of you are so blessed that you’ve overcome the incredible odds of locating and then consummating with the one and only person in the entire Universe who’s been hand picked by Aphrodite the Goddess of Love herself to be your soul mate, your true love. Life is good.
But of course that’s a load of crap! You probably can’t even say with reasonable certainty that the chick you are with right now is better for you than any other women that live within a 10-block radius from your home let alone the entire Universe! Hey, Love Bird, let’s not even discuss whether you’re the best man for her. You know the answer to that one. In order for you to be sure that the person you end up with is really your true love, your one and only, you would have to have had a relationship with every other person for comparison. And that is clearly a prohibitively non-scalable problem to solve, given the finite resources a normal human being has, along with traditional societal restraints…
But fear not, Love Bird! Armed with a basic understanding of probability theory and elementary calculus, you too can find true love. Or should I say… you too can maximize your chances at finding your effective true love or ETL. How? Behold the powers of mathematics! Who would have thought that one of the fifty challenging problems in probability can provide the recipe for finding your ETL? Here is the problem stated in its original form.
#47. Choosing the Largest Dowry The king, to test a candidate for the position of wise man, offers him a chance to marry the young lady in the court with the largest dowry. The amounts of the dowries are written on slips of paper and mixed. A slip is drawn at random and the wise man must decide whether that is the largest dowry or not. If he decides it is, he gets the lady and her dowry if he is correct; otherwise he gets nothing. If he decides against the amount written on the first slip, he must choose or refuse the next slip, and so on until he chooses one or else the slips are exhausted. In all, 100 attractive young ladies participate, each with a different dowry. How should the wise man make his decision? [**]
For those nerds who would rather attempt to solve the above problem, stop reading now and heed my spoiler alert! Otherwise, read on!
Obviously you can’t date everybody in the Universe and see who’s the best. I know you would but you couldn’t. Realistically and statistically a normal human being in the civilized world has only about 15 years of mating window to snare a life partner. Suppose it takes you an average of 12 months to figure out whether she’s worth it or not (one-night stands and those you pay money for don’t count okay?), that yields a sampling size of 15 in your lifetime. Fifteen serious relationships is quite a lot, my friend. For those who’s handsome and charming and can multi-task like myself, the sampling size or mating pool size may be larger. For those who usually wait a long time before the fish take the bait, the subset of the mating Universe is naturally smaller. Whatever the case may be, you need to estimate your sampling size. Once you have that number in mind, then your objective now is to find the best one among this subset of the Universe. That person is your effective true love or ETL. Fine, she may not be the best in the Universe. But she’s the best in your Universe. Tell her that. She won’t care about the difference if she loves you. Hence the term effective! Of course you cannot score your entire subset and then pick out the best person and go back to her. (Does the phrase “the one that got away” ring any bell to you losers out there?) Once you say adiós, she’s off the radar and will no longer be available (probably because she hates you or you hate her or both). So you have to determine whether the person you’re “sampling” (statistically speaking) at the moment is the best of the lot or not. Once you commit, she’s either the one or she’s not. Don’t you see? The problem of finding your ETL is isomorphic to the problem of finding the largest dowry!
Final spoiler alert!
So you say, give me the damn recipe already! Sure! If you are smart like me, your intuition would tell you to never take the first woman as your ETL, because the probability that she’s the best of the lot is only 1/N, where N is your mating pool size. We’re talking about true love here, pal! Are you really gonna meet your true love on your first… date… ever? Most normal people would date a few more different people before they “settle down” and that is in fact the right strategy. This strategy becomes optimal when you figure out when to start “settling down”. If you are smart like me, your mathematics will tell you that for large N the optimal point to start settling down is N/e where N is the aforementioned mating pool size and e is the base of the natural logarithm (aka 2.718281828). In fact, for large N, the probability that this “settling down” strategy will yield true love is 1/e which is like 37%. That’s incredibly high for finding true love! (To dim wits, as N approaches infinity, effective true love becomes true love!)
The recipe of finding your effective true love is now clear.
- Decide your mating pool size
- Date, score, and dump the first N/e girls or guys whichever the case may be (it’s important that you do this part sincerely to get accurate scores and also to avoid getting killed)
- Continue dating until you score a person that has higher score than anybody preceding
- Once you find that highest scorer, marry her and live happily ever after (oh, you probably should stop statistically sampling more girls at this point)
Of course there are always those party poopers out there who complain what if the highest scorer happened before N/e was reached? Well, then I say to you, it’s just not meant to be, losers! 😀
Recently I got a new job and that brought me back to San Mateo where I used to work from ’99 to ’05. It’s a nice change of scenery since I had been working in San Francisco for the last five years. It feels good to be able to drive again. And it definitely feels good to have real lunch options again. You know, there are only about four or five palatable lunch venues within walking distance in downtown San Fran. Most of them you’ll have to deal with either the homeless guys or the pigeons, so… Nothing wrong with that!
Coming back to San Mateo brought back a lot of memories for me… I was able to meet up with a few old friends that I haven’t interacted with in real 4-dimensional Minkowski spacetime for many years! Poking your “friends” or writing on their walls on Facebook doesn’t count as real interaction, okay? I’m sorry if you feel otherwise. It’s good to connect physically in the same neighborhood! And three different people had asked me about what happened to my “random thoughts” website where I used to blabber about trivialities like the meaning of life and how to find true love. You know, I was blogging before blogging was called blogging and a few of my friends remembered reading my random thoughts. Truth is I haven’t written anything since my server totaled when its hard disk crashed back in 2004. I lost EVERYTHING and I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. Now I don’t know if I can do it again. So I got the advice of my creative hero Moe and Moe recommended me to use WordPress. Thanks Moe! And so… here I am!
It’s good to be back!