Now Page – December 2019

What I’m up to right now

It’s the week after finals week and yet another fall quarter has come to an end. Usually, I feel really burned out and want to vegetate after finals weeks. But not this time. I feel alive. There’s so much I want to do.

How I’m spending my time this winter break

40% Traveling (Chicago with fam & San Diego with da boyz)
20% Research
20% Self-Care & Leisure
20% Projects

Traveling

Chicago with family will be frigid and cold, but I’ll get to see my nephew for the first time! I’m looking forward to that and loads of deep dish pizza.
San Diego is the home of my alma mater, UC San Diego. I’m going back there with three of my childhood friends, two of which lived with me during my junior and senior years there. We all have intense nostalgia for the place. I can’t wait to feel the waves roll over my feet and the sand squelch between my toes. Warm and sunny places are salubrious (hah, I still remember my SAT words!).

Research

Over the last month, I’ve been getting more and more involved with the Stanford Vision Lab on a research project aiming to extend the idea of mechanical search using reinforcement learning.

It was really hard to get started – lots of terms thrown around and black boxes I had to maintain around concepts I didn’t understand. However, I’ve been consistent in trying, and I’ve made good progress in my understanding.

Most recently, I’ve really enjoyed the process of literature review, where we’ve been reviewing related works. A year ago, it would have all sounded like gibberish to me. It’s so satisfying to actually be able to understand the gist of a paper. I love what I’m learning so far.

Self-Care & Leisure

Books I’m reading:
Ender’s Game. Recommended to me by Esan, one of da boyz.
“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” (Richard Feynman’s autobiography) and Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. These last two books were given to me for my birthday by Leo and Constance, two great friends of mine at Stanford. Loving all of these books so far.

Meditation:
I meditate 10 minutes a day in the morning using Waking Up. I’ll be writing a longer blog post on why this is so important for me, but in short, meditation has and continues to transform the way I think and experience emotions. It’s quickly becoming a pillar in my life.

Exercise:
I’m reaching a high point in my fitness thanks to ongoing physical therapy for my back/foot injury (see previous now pages for that full story) and commitment to the pool. I reached my milestone of swimming one mile around November 25th, which was almost three weeks ahead of my goal! Physical therapy has strengthened my core quite a bit: I can hold a plank for 2 minutes now, something I have only been able to do at the peak of my cross country training in high school. I’ve also maintained a steady weight of around 153lbs through the quarter – also amazing and unprecedented. In short, I’m keeping up with my PT exercises every day and am aiming to get running soon. Got that Yosemite Half Marathon coming up in May. I’m hyped.

Projects

Coding Project:
Without giving away too much information, Daniel has hired me to build a project for his company! I’m extremely excited because a) I get to work with my best friend on a project together b) I’m finally going to cement the concepts of front-end development (I’ll be using React) with a project – something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Truly cannot wait to get started on this more seriously after I get back from Chicago.

Music Production:
Over the last month, I’ve released two songs! The first is Aerodynamics, and it has one of my favorite backstories. I had a “car” phase recently where I was obsessed with racing games and car races (a love that I’ve had since childhood), and in that haze I stumbled upon a compilation of the Goodwood Speed Festival on YouTube. The deep sounds of racing cars droning by captured my musical imagination. Wouldn’t it be so cool to use those sounds in a song? So I learned how to us use Ableton’s Sampler to make a song based mainly on that YouTube video’s car vrooms. I haven’t gotten around to making artwork for it yet, but I will soon. Hope you like it!

The second is Bullet Train. I made some crazy looking artwork for it. Really learned how to play with the LFO on Serum, my favorite synthesizer, and Ableton’s reverb and ping pong delay effects. Check it out:

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