Thursday, December 29, 2022

a fragile encasing

Me: After reading that Twitter thread about people who feel an impending sense of doom and then die shortly after, I really feel aware of my mortality! Our bodies are just a meat encasing that will decline and one day die.

Aff: Stupid meat. [looking up at the sky] Why 

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Quiet Antarctica

One unexpected cool thing about Antarctica is knowing there are almost no other humans around, as far as the eye can see. 

It is quiet. There are no sounds of traffic. Just penguin noises and ice breaking off. 

We passed another ship yesterday and it was shocking to see another sign of human life! 

It is also interesting to look out and see vast mountains that probably no human has set foot on.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Antarctic snow

Antarctica is making me appreciate snow. 

Snow in cities is inconvenient. Shoes track sludge into the house. Going inside or outside requires minutes of changing clothing. I need to keep track of so many additional accessories: hat, scarf, mittens, socks. 

Snow in nature is awe-inspiring. It is silent, but alters the landscape. 

When it comes to oceans or lakes, I encounter them in their full form, after driving out of the city. My memories of them involve amazement. Most of my memories of snow involve half-melted snow on the roadside, mixed with dirt and leaves. 

I've been seeing a domesticated form of snow, and now I am seeing it in its natural habitat.

Monday, October 31, 2022


I'm going to Antarctica in a month!

I previously tried to go in 2009, but that boat sank before my trip. (All the passengers were rescued.)

When friends hear of my Antarctica plans, their reactions are divided. Some immediately say it is a dream of theirs. Others say it sounds cold and unappealing. There are few reactions in the middle. 

I started packing already and reading about historical expeditions to Antarctica. 

Currently I am reading about the Belgica ship from 1897. To my surprise, there was mutiny, mass firing, and the ship getting stranded on rocks before they even rounded past Argentina. 

I have also been binging Great Courses audiobooks in the past month. My favorites were about the Berlin Wall, Japan, the Civil Rights movement, and Beethoven.

I will download so many audiobooks for the days at sea through the Drake Passage!

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Mint ice cream

I made mint chip ice cream from real mint leaves! 

It's good. 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

New York is noisy

I am visiting NYC after a work trip to Connecticut. 

NYC is so noisy! There is movement from all directions, honking and talking and sounds of objects being moved. 

No wonder people here are cranky. Their nerves must be frayed. 

And yet people pay huge sums to live in NYC! 

I like the large number of ethnicities. I heard so many languages spoken around me, and saw so many types of food. That part was cool. 

I once thought NYC would be a stimulating place to live, because of all the museums and diversity. But now I think the noise is a deal-breaker. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

walking 2023

I am increasingly captivated by the Camino de Santiago. It is a walk across Spain that was started in the 9th century by pilgrims.

The most popular route, the Camino de Frances, is 800km. You start at the border of Spain and France, and then walk westward across Spain. 

Over 100,000 people walk the route each year. I'd like to stay at the communal albergues (hostels devoted to walkers), so I'll need to wait until covid subsides more. 

The most appealing aspect is the endorphin rush. When I did survival school a decade ago, I felt ecstatic for hours each day from walking 15+ miles. It was probably runner's high, which I've never had while running. 

My fear is what if the endorphin rush doesn't happen? Then it'll be just drudgery, physical discomfort, and loneliness. 

However, it will be pleasant to see castles, forests, mountains and little quaint towns.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Carbon dioxide

Aff got a CO2 monitor, so that we can see the ventilation levels of indoor spaces, for covid safety. It's quite convenient!

Monday, August 22, 2022

I like Go

Aff and I have been programming together in GoLang. It's a well-designed programming language!

I'm still taking covid precautions by avoiding indoor gatherings and indoor dining. Sometimes I feel a bit stir-crazy. It is nice to have GoLang as an enjoyable joint activity.

Monday, August 15, 2022

climbing role model

It took many years, but I'm finally starting to get interested in rock climbing. It's mainly because we met a woman Jane who is a Chinese climber 2 years older than me. 

She's obsessed with climbing, traveling all over the place (Montana, Mexico, New Hampshire) just for rock climbing. She climbs every day that she can. 

It's rare to meet a middle-aged Chinese woman who is obsessed to this degree with rock climbing! I found it very intriguing. I asked her 200 questions about her life and how she got into climbing. Then I became newly interested in rock climbing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

I like Rio de Janeiro

Aff and I visited Rio de Janeiro. I had a feeling of awe as soon as our plane circled the tree-covered hills and landed on an airstrip next to the ocean.

Rio has a plethora of sidewalk and outdoor dining, which is convenient during the pandemic. 

We stayed at an inn run by a German ex-psychologist. He started visiting Brazil in 1991 and loved it, and then opened the inn in 2009. Like many Germans, he valued being punctual and organized in our interactions. At one point, he needed repairs from a Brazilian repairperson, who had a much more relaxed relationship to punctuality. Every day, the Brazilian repairperson pushed back the appointment by another day. It was interesting to see the clash of the two cultures. 

Rio also has great bike lanes. We did a 7-hour bike tour that covered 25 miles across the city. Nearly all of it was on bike lanes. 

Our bike guide was Brazilian and grew up in Germany between ages 7 until after college graduation. Similar to the innkeeper, he also was a German/Brazilian blend of cultures. The bike guide moved back to Rio after college because he missed the ocean and nature. 

I noticed that the Rio population is diverse, which I liked a lot. Our bike guide told us, "The Brazilian passport is popular as a fake passport because there are so many ethnicities. No matter how you look: Japanese, Black, German, you could be from Brazil." 

I would like to return to Rio someday, for a couple weeks. There is rock climbing within the city, for Aff. Food and hotel prices are quite reasonable. We could take a boat to nearby islands, and also go see the Amazon forest and Iguazu waterfall. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022


Aff baked me a birthday pie! 

It is a coconut cream pie. I am very happy about it! 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Taos tree

Saw this awesome art in Taos! This is a cool tree painting. 

Monday, June 06, 2022

Visiting New Mexico

We are visiting Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and soon Taos. 

It is fun to tour New Mexico, because I grew up in Las Cruces in the south of NM. 

The chicken mole is delightful!

Thursday, June 02, 2022

A long walk

I am thinking of walking the final 100km of the Camino de Santiago. 

I'll be doing it on my own, since Aff isn't into it. He prefers rock climbing. 

I'm excited! 

Update: I hoped to walk it in September but I have a work conflict. Now I am thinking of walking the full 800km in 2023!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Aragorn & faith in humanity

 I love this video. It reminded me of watching all the LoTR movies (plus all 50+ hours of bonus commentary) in 2014. 

Viggo Mortensen is such a powerful, heartfelt actor. 

We need to jettison Johnny Depp into the vacuum of space, and reshoot all of his films with Viggo Mortensen instead.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

BBC Sherlock being harmful

I think it's harmful how the BBC show Sherlock whitewashes sociopaths.

In the show, Sherlock Holmes repeatedly calls himself a "high functioning sociopath". He gets bored easily and fires a gun at the wall. He ignores social graces and says rude things. 

But he also sacrifices his own life (takes on a dangerous mission where he's expected to be killed within 6 months) to keep Watson safe. He travels to the Middle East to save his friend / beard "The Woman", even though there is nothing to be gained for himself.

This is not how sociopaths behave! Their gruff exterior isn't hiding a heart of gold. They will not put themselves at risk to save your life.

I think the popularity of the show speaks to the number of viewers who probably dealt with a loved one that behaves like Sherlock. The show is wish fulfillment that their loved one actually will rise to the occasion and behave in selfless loving ways. After all, they saw it on Sherlock! Maybe the viewer's own sociopath will also completely reform one day!

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

photo of artist

I like this photo a lot. It's a young artist carving a red lacquer vase. The artist is my mom in her 20s.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Past and present tree

Me: "There's a saying, 'The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.'"

Aff: "19 years ago is still better than now."

Monday, January 17, 2022


For many months, I've had a habit of watching a show with my mom after dinner. We watched Bourdain's "Parts Unknown", The Great British Bake-Off, and other cooking shows. My mom likes to cook, so I figured she would like these shows. 

She usually fell asleep halfway through. I figured she was tired.

It turns out that she actually likes adventure / action shows! While I was away for a week, Aff started watching Daredevil (Marvel show) with her. She stayed awake for every episode, and said it was exciting.

We finished all 3 seasons of Daredevil. We tried to watch Ted Lasso, and my mom got bored again. Now we watch Marvel's show The Punisher.

Watching these Marvel shows has significantly improved the relationship between my mom and me. Previously she was complaining every day about issues, and I would react negatively to the complaints, and we'd get into a negative spiral. But now she stopped complaining. It's been a couple months. 

Thankfully there are a huge number of Marvel shows that we can watch. We won't run out.