30 January 2013


I lost my pencil case.

I don't believe that I "lost" it in the sense that I forgot to pack it into my bag after lecture. This scenario is unlikely because
  • I remember it to be beside my water bottle when I was packing my bag, and I remembered to grab my water bottle.
  • Friends sitting beside me would have noticed that I left something behind.
But since it's even less likely that someone stole it, I'm forcing myself to accept that it is my fault that it's gone.

It's goneeeee T______T

Along with my pretty drafting pencil
and micron, and uniball signo, and set of muji gel pens
but most importantly the case itself!! It's was so nice u__u

Worst of all, the case is no longer sold by the shop on Taobao. And 15 pages of leather pencil cases on etsy did not yield a single potential replacement. The only one that's nice looking enough is $40+$19 shipping, and I sat here considering that option for roughly 5 minutes before realizing it's rather ridiculous to spend $60 on a pencil case. 


and I gotta reorder pens from Jetpens. Sighhhhh

27 January 2013

statement of interest

Today's deliverable is an impressive statement of interest for taking a summer course in England. And also finding a serif font that is a) legible in smaller font sizes b) isn't too spaced out in all caps, I really don't want to resort to Times for my resume @_@"

Haven't written anything English-y for such a long time, in fact the past semester ESP reports have been trying to make me unlearn everything high-school English has taught me (minus spelling and grammar). Now I'm halfway done and suddenly realized that I'm off-topic and should delete everything but the first half of the first sentence.
Nostalgic feelings~ (looking at you Prufrock essay!)
And now I'm typing up a blog post to procrastinate and temporarily ignore the fact I have to rewrite the entire thing.


Okay I've written a new introduction. By the looks of it, it seems to be a (really non-rigorous) problem definition. I haven't really left the engineering writing framework haha.

At this point, I'm giving ESP the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it's not as terrible of a course as us froshs think. Sure we gain no technical knowledge from the course (and how much of those are actually useful? There's software to solve integration and matrices anyways), but the "soft" skills that we should be learning will certainly be used. For example, and I'm not sure if this is by coincidence or not, an email from an upperclassman asking to set up a meeting followed almost exactly the format specified by ESP for setting up a client meeting. (Sorry this example will make little sense to those outside of UT eng.) As for the course itself, I think it's a giant lesson in time management. I would elaborate, but I've spent more time typing here than on my SoI, so back there I go.

26 January 2013


Funny how I exclaimed "woah it's a happy Chinese love song for once!" when I first heard it xD

男/眼看着手机里 没讯号
担心你的回信我 收不到
哪怕只传来一个 微笑的符号
我都会舍不得 删掉

女/电台传来天气 的预报
想起你为我遮雨 的外套
合/客厅的电视播放 偶像剧频道
羡慕他们为爱 在争吵

男/你在我 的面前微笑 装不知道
女/其实你 告白的简讯 我有收到
合/(男)你说我 爱太 晚到 (女)为何你 爱要 晚到
合/只能像 朋友般 拥抱 Yeah~

男/你说他 的用心付出 比我早到
女/对你的 温柔只能放 心里收好
合/(男)你说我 爱太 晚到 (女)为何你 爱要 晚到
合/怎么做 我们彼此才 不会伤到

男/我记得你爱喝 的饮料 (女)的饮料
也排队买你爱吃 的面包 (女)的面包
却只能对你远远 的会心一笑 (女)的会心一笑
连你的手都牵 不到

女/你说你有多的 电影票 (男)Yeah~
合/(女)但很窝心的是你怕我无聊 (男)但很窝心的是我怕你无聊
合/(女)你比他清楚我的心跳 (男)我比他清楚你的心跳

男/你在我 的面前微笑 装不知道
女/其实你 告白的简讯 我有收到
合/(男)你说我 爱太 晚到 (女)为何你 爱要 晚到
合/只能像 朋友般 拥抱 Yeah~

男/你说他 的用心付出 比我早到
女/对你的 温柔只能放 心里收好
合/(男)你说我 爱太 晚到 (女)为何你 爱要 晚到
合/怎么做 我们彼此才 不会伤到

男/你在我 的面前微笑 装不知道
女/他没有 不好只是话 越聊越少
合/(男)你说我 爱太 晚到 (女)为何你 爱要 晚到
合/错过了 幸福的 味道 Yeah~

男/用记忆 在对你拍照 让人难熬
女/其实我 对于你的好 也曾动摇
合/(男)你说我 爱太 晚到 (女)为何你 爱要 晚到
合/对的人 不对的时间 却放不掉

24 January 2013


For the hours that I was on campus, I've spent more of those asleep than awake (y)
For the hours that I'm back at res, it's pretty much a 1:1 ratio of playing and working
Programming is a pain. A giant pain. 

Not gonna get better soon...
Gpa is also going to get worse ahaha..ha

22 January 2013


Being sick sucks, especially during the worst of the January weather. I still strongly feel that snow is only good when it's falling, once it hits the ground it's gg for you.
Unless it's a snowball fight/building a snowman, those are exceptions. Though unfortunately at my current state, both activities are off limits :(

Completely unrelated: asking for something that you would like, despite the unlikely chances, usually works out in your favour. Guess that results from the fact that it's harder to say no.
This has been proven correct, and absolutely wrong, in 2 recent situations.

20 January 2013


Ever since meeting my roommate, I've been bugging her to take me to a good Indian food place. That finally came true yesterday when the whole crew went to Indian Palace. Having been warned that the portions are huge, I ended up sharing the dinner special for two with the twins.

On nom:

Not sure what it's called but it was gooood. Taste the best with the prickled carrots.

The main meat dish, there's tandoori chicken, this sausage thing, and a random piece of meat that we could not identify, probably lamb.

The entire dinner special. The curry was delicious! Exactly the right spiciness level :]

19 January 2013


Not the most accurate at all, but it sounds good still haha.

没那麼简单 就能找到 聊得来的伴
尤其是在 看过了那麼多的背叛
总是不安 只好强悍

没那麼简单 就能去爱
别的全不看 变得实际
不爱孤单 一久也习惯
不用担心谁 也不用被谁管

感觉累了就放空自己 别人说的话
随便听一听 自己作决定
不想拥有太多情绪  一杯红酒配电影
在周末晚上 关上了手机  舒服窝在沙发里

相爱没有那麼容易 每个人有他的脾气
过了爱作梦的年纪 轰轰烈烈不如平静
幸福没有那麼容易 才会特别让人著迷
什麼都不懂的年纪 曾经最掏心 所以最开心 曾经

想念最伤心 但却最动心 的记忆

On second thought, certain lines do fit really well.

18 January 2013


Was freezing cold outside (aka back to normal January weather), but who cares since there's a fresh layer of snow to draw four leaf clovers on!

...slightly lope-sided and hard to see "orz

The Nathan Phillips skating rink also had pretty lights.

16 January 2013

Re: staying up late

There has to be a word for completely regretting a decision while being certain that if the decision came up again, one would make the exact same choice.
Something other than insanity.

Also sure that the future me reading this sentence would not like the current me very much for sleeping this little when there's barely any work yet (no consistent problem sets this sem! but I am and will keep up with reading ahead and doing all of the calc practice problems).

Chestnut espresso is now useless.
Naps are my new best friend.
The bitter wind is a love/hate relationship.

13 January 2013


The weather is abnormally warm, positive double digits in January? Not that I'm complaining.

Spent the day outside yesterday, was sooo fun. Haven't played basketball with friends since...grade 8 lunch? Not much has changed since then ahaha. Good exercise regardless xD

Since it's back to work from today, some new Jay Chou music to fill up space:

糖果罐里好多颜色  微笑却不甜了
你的某些快乐  在没有我的时刻
中古世纪的城市里  我想就走到这
海鸥不再眷恋大海  可以飞更远

远方传来风笛  我只在意有你的消息
城堡为爱守着秘密  而我为你守着回忆

明明就不习惯牵手  为何却主动把手勾
你的心事太多  我不会戳破
明明就他比较温柔  也许他能给你更多
不用抉择  我会自动变朋友

10 January 2013

Killing Yourself to Live

Having no tutorials/labs is awesome, the latter half of the day is completely free to do whatever.
Whatever in this case is to finish a 3rd book:

Summary from Amazon:
For 6,557 miles, Chuck Klosterman thought about dying. He drove a rental car from New York to Rhode Island to Georgia to Mississippi to Iowa to Minneapolis to Fargo to Seattle, and he chased death and rock 'n' roll all the way. Within the spanof twenty-one days, Chuck had three relationships end-one by choice, one bychance, and one by exhaustion. He snorted cocaine in a graveyard. He walked a halfmile through a bean field. A man in Dickinson, North Dakota, explained to him why we have fewer windmills than we used to. He listened to the KISS solo albums and the Rod Stewart box set. At one point, poisonous snakes became involved. The road is hard. From the Chelsea Hotel to the swampland where Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane went down to the site where Kurt Cobain blew his head off, Chuck explored every brand of rock star demise. He wanted to know why the greatest career move any musician can make is to stop breathing. . . and what this means for the rest of us.
I ordered this book from the library a very very long time ago, and when I went to retrieve it, I could not remember why in the world I was interested in a book filled with rock allusions that I don't understand. But since it's in my hands, might as well read it.

In between the author's analysis about death and rock stars, are some very true (true being defined as I completely agree) conclusions about living:

The stark, pedestrian images used by the filmmakers (probably out of financial necessity) expressed nothing, symbolically or metaphorically. The only purpose they served was to remind me that a huge chunk of my life is completely over, even though I will probably live 60 more years. There are so many things that will never happen to me again, and I never even noticed when those things stopped occurring. And this does not mean I wish I had my old life back, because I like my new life better; I was just shocked to discover how much of what used to be central to my existence doesn't even matter to me anymore. 
Things like that will never happen to me again, even if I want them to. And I did not choose to stop living that life, nor did I try to continue living that life. I just didn't noticed when it stopped.
When you start thinking about what your life was like 10 years ago - and not in general terms, but in highly specific detail - it's disturbing to realize how certain elements of your being are completely dead. They die long before you do. it's astonishing to consider all the things from your past that used to happen all the time but (a) never happen anymore, and (b) never even cross your mind. it's almost like those things didn't happen. or maybe it seems like they just happened to someone else. To someone you don't really know.
Those 2 selections pretty much describes how I feel about whenever I can't fall asleep (which fortunately is not too frequently since school has started).

(Rui the two below are for you :p)
I have never understood the concept of infatuation. It has always been my understanding that being "infatuated" with someone means you think you are in love, but you're actually not; infatuation is (supposedly) just a foolish, fleeting feeling. But if being "in love" in an abstract nothing, and it's not tangible, and there is no way to physically prove it to anyone else...well, how is being in love any different than having an infatuation? They're both human constructions. If you think you're in love with someone and you feel  like you're in love with someone, then you obviously are; thinking and feeling is the sum total of what love is. Why do we feel an obligation to certify certain emotions with some kind of retrospective, self-imposed authenticity?
I realized what prompted me to order this book was reading the quotation below on tumblr:
We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in out lifetime. It's easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven't even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. There are the most important people in your life, and you'll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there's still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it always happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of those lovable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. You will remember having conversations with this person that never actually happened. You will recall sexual trysts with this person that never technically occurred. This is because the individual who embodies your personal definition of love does not really exist. The person is real, and the feelings are but - but you create the context. And context is everything. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they're often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.
(and back to textbooks)

09 January 2013


And marks are finally out. Emphasis on the finally.

  • ESP (aps111) - 93 was not expecting this, especially since both PR and CDS were terrible.
  • Phys Chem (che112) - 95 also not expecting this, guess final wasn't as bad
  • Mechanics (civ100) - 88 slightly sad that civ is my lowest mark...
  • Calc I (mat186) - 89 aww wanted higher, guess didn't do that well on finals
  • Lin Alg (mat188) - 89 so grateful that the final wasn't as hard
Average: 90.8%
aka four point zero



These days have been so chill too. Didn't do much the first lecture of each course, largely due to the technical difficulty experience while trying to get powerpoints to project. Was even let out early for one class because the prof didn't want to teach without the slides.

Free time was spent catching up with friends, frequenting Eaton (went there for an after lunch walk everyday haha), and trying frantically to finish my last leisure read before work starts...tomorrow @_@

So in hopes of working hard this semester, I will try to stick to the following outline of preparation:
  • Check portal for updates for tomorrow's courses.
  • Read, or at least scan through the lectures slides and/or textbook sections for tomorrow's lectures (doing this would have made chem so much easier).
  • Review a complete page of notes before filing them away.
Let's see how this will go~

07 January 2013


I found something better than xkcd,

k that statement is not entirely true, since it's a project by the same author. Thus, I correct the statement to: "I found something better than the main comic of xkcd: What If".

In other news, back at res and somewhat ready for a new semester. Preparations included reading through ESP II's course documents (simultaneously looking forward to and dreading this course), filling out new planner, and playing Risk with friends until 2am.
At least I sleep better at Chestnut.

04 January 2013

mortar and pestle

Here's a lot of baking and posting to make up for the lack of either once next semester starts.

(dear Apple, please pack a bigger sensor into the next iphone camera so pictures can look this good even in lower lighting)

Mmmmm cookies.

Originally, it's a largely painless process, especially since I've started to enjoy creaming butter and sugar. But no, turns out that all my brown sugar has all hardened. So there went an hour grinding them up, and scattering sugar into perhaps every nook and cranny of the kitchen. I was also initially worried that the dough was really dry and crumbly, but they turned out well :)

All in all a success, recipe via Everybody Likes Sandwiches.
(listen to her, the addition of salted almonds makes it so much better)

Chaos: Making a New Science

Another popular science book, whoo!

Though I have mixed feelings about the genre as a whole. Since they're written with the general population as the intended audience, they really don't say much about the topic. The focus is usually on the history of the subject and important contributors. I'm confident that the associated Wikipedia articles contain more technical information. However, the plus side is that the quality of the writing is much better and the ones I pick up are rather humorous.

Moving on,

The content of the book deals with the emergence of the study of chaos theory, and is easily summarized through the following quotation, describing a paradigm shift from
Simple systems behave in simple ways.
Complex behaviour implies complex causes.
Different systems behave differently.
Simple systems give arise to complex behaviours.
Complex systems give arise to simple behaviours. 
And most important, the laws of complexity hold universally, caring not at all for the details of a system's constituent atoms.
Continuing from the first paragraph about popular science books, the explanation of the subject goes as far as "what the theory is", excluding the "how it predicts what it predicts" and "why it works". To be fair, answering the latter two question requires significantly more knowledge than I/the public possess.

Now back to the book, there's an interesting quotation on what theories are/do:
The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work.
John Von Neumann
Cue my calc prof stressing the importance of knowing how apply the math we learned to model real life situations.

And in relation to professors, I found the last sentence hilarious:
"Faculty members are familiar with a certain kind of person who looks to the mathematicians like a good physicist and looks to the physicists like a good mathematician. Very properly, they do not want that kind of person around." [Murray-Gell Man]. The standards of the two professions were very different. Mathematicians proved theorems by ratiocination; physicists' proofs used heavier equipment.
Generalizing to the difference between hard and soft sciences:
In the hard sciences, investigators found it easier to amass their thousands or millions of data points. Economists, like biologists, dealt with a world of willful living beings. Economists studied the most elusive creatures of all.
This description is how I always imagined university when I was young:
[The] room taken over by the chaos group developed its own atmosphere, with piles of apper and pictures of Tahitian islanders on the walls, and eventually, printouts of strange attractors. Ar almost any hour, though night was a safer bet than morning, a visitor could see members of the group rearranging circuitry, tanking out patch cords, arguing about consciousness or evolution, adjusting an oscilloscope display, or just staring while a glowing green spot traced a curve of light, its orbit flickering and seething like something alive.
(this is going off on a tangent) I feel slightly sad that I'm not planning on doing any post-grad research. Having a space that's dedicated to the pursue of a single thing seems so wonderful. Maybe that's why I love looking at photos of artists' studios.

(and back again) The next quotation is in relation to the previous book. An explanation for the existence of the universe was that it was just the result of a quantum fluctuation. The rebuttal, however, was that the laws of physics would require an explanation, therefore this didn't really count as the first-cause. I find it a coincidence to see the author of this book mention that
I always felt that the spontaneous emergence of self-organization ought to be part of physics.
And my favourite for the last:
"God plays dice with the universe," is [Joseph] Ford's answer to Einstein's famous question. "But they're loaded dice. And the main objective of physics now is find out by what rules were they loaded and how can we use them for our own ends."
I'll always have a soft spot for any answer to Einstein's statement of "I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice".

03 January 2013


Today has been a good day.
It's been a day of lazing on the sofa with a interesting book, a cup of tea, a cozy blanket and the occasional internet breaks.

More days of the break should have been spent like this @_@

02 January 2013

Why Does the World Exist?

Good way to start the year by finally finishing something that is not a textbook.

aka the exploration of the most profound question that one can ask.

The book's chapters are divided by different possible answers to the question "why is there something rather than nothing?" Though to ask this question, one must assume that "something" actually exists. A "proof" of such is offered in the prologue:
A quick proof that there must be something rather than nothing, for modern people who lead busy lives:
Suppose there were nothing. Then there would be no laws; for laws, after all, are something. if there were no laws, then everything would be permitted. If everything were permitted, than nothing would be forbidden. So if there were nothing, nothing would be forbidden. Thus nothing is self-forbidding.
Therefore, there must be something. QED.
The rest of the book is also filled with even more subtly worded arguments, presented through Holt's conversations with a range of philosophers and theoretical physicists. Along the way are interludes of his amusing experiences at Cafe de Flore (where Satre and others have pondered the same question).

Some interesting quotations:
Science is a differential equation, religion is the boundary condition
This one is from Alan Turing, and I'm sure I'll find this much funnier once I actually learn about differential equations next year.

We tend to think that value can bring something into existence only with the aid of some mechanism [...] But such a mechanism could never explain the existence of a world. It could never explain why there is Something rather than Nothing, because it would be part of the Something to be explained"
This is a reoccurring rebuttal to many of the theories in the book. Ways to get around this often ends in tautology (terrible), or ends up resorting to a brute fact (equally unsatisfying).

He expressed amazement that mathematics could be so complicated. A mathematician had told him that 80 percent of mathematics was about infinity. And he was horrified to learn that there was more than one infinity!
In regards to philosopher Derek Parfit, I find his remark very funny.

It would be very odd if the Big Bang came with a label that said, "THIS MECHANISM OPERATED ONLY ONCE"
 I can totally imagine this appearing in Hitchhiker xD

A man finds himself, to his great astonishment, suddenly existing, after thousands of years of non-existence; he lives for a little while; and then, again, comes an equally long period when he must exist no more. The heart rebels against this, and feels that it cannot be true
from The Vanity of Existence by Arthur Schopenhauer. The book shifts from cosmic existence to personal consciousness (what is the "I" in Descartes' "I am thinking, therefore I exist"?), and eventually comes to the topic of death and the fear of it (is that Giardine smiling I see?).

Lastly, a few funny definitions:
Philosophy, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.
Reality, n. The dream of a mad philosopher.
from The Devil's Dictionary (this where I will be spending the rest of the day).


I have found my incentive to wake up earlier every morning.

Smelling tea as it brews it perhaps one of the greatest feelings in the world.
(thanks again for the mug Donna :D )


Learning how to use InDesign, imo soooo much more useful than Photoshop! At least for academic/extracurricular purposes (ie. poster making). So amazed at frames and the various smart guides, how did I ever live without them.

01 January 2013

resolutions '13

I'm actually drawing a blank this year.

Aside from the ones that carry over unfulfilled every year: sleep more, read more, get better grades, exercise, etc, really can't think of any unique goals for 2013.

Something cool that Sarah posted is having a jar and filling it with slips of paper describing a happy moment each day. But knowing me and daily commitments, highhhhly unlikely that this will go very far. Instead, guess I'll bust out a notebook from my collection of many and record them there.

Which in turn reminds me that I really ought to use more of my stashed goods rather than buying so many new items. This applies to stationary, cloths, cosmetics, and soaps (ahahaa I'll never get through these). So let it be that in 2013 I will not purchase random pretty colours of gel pens, edit down my closet (and donate the extras), and resist the temptation to walk into Sephora/Lush. In conjunction, I will actually use whatever I already own instead of admiring their packaging.

Oh and explore downtown on foot once the weather warms up. Walking in the cold is just a miserable experience @_@"


xkcd, obviously, has the best resolution.