Day336 cleaning up

I am bad at this. I generated lot of garbage. Things just accumulate and after a while and hell what is all this crap I say to myself. So I started to clean up a bit unsucessfully.

I found a picture back in 2012. The picture was one of my trainee gave to me after she quit the job and join the cheerleading at a the local NFL team. She was their ambassador. So she gave me her autograph. In my mind 2012 at least in context of the picture maybe was just a year or two away, but counting the date, that was 8 years ago! Why do I still have it? And not put away or trashed.

I have many such accumulations all over the place. Should I toss it away? Should I keep it. Should I let it be? So I put it back on the desk on top of a pile of stuff. I do have any more meaningful stuffs lying around. I tossed away a bunch of ‘cheap’ art work my former girlfriend gave to me. Any way, that was my weekend.

I actually started the clean up project a month ago. It was supposed a day job.


Day335 deep end

I plunged myself in the deep end of whatever this is. No I am not in a pool. Month of July was ugly. It was not depression. I don’t have a feeling of a giant weight being pressed down on me like before during January. Instead, I am just out of steps with life and the world. I feel I am really out of sync with everything I do.

I haven’t run much, maybe once or twice. Everyday I woke up and thought I am going to run today, but moment later, I decided to wait till evening and by evening, I would defer to morning. Really what is wrong with me.

It is not just running but everything. Nothing really accomplished. I still went to work, working from home that is. I went physically into the company twice. I thought change of environment would be good, but it made no difference. I might though going to go into the company more often. I think our business would ‘reopen’ in September, if not by October. Glad July was over.

I went camping once. It was glamping – glamorous camping. Yet it was almost a disaster. I forgot to bring the stove and fire. Also no ice box on a 100 degree weekend (38C). It was not a last minute thing, but my packing was last minute. And guess what, I found my fire lighter in my pack once the trip was over. What did I eat? I stopped by a chick fil A on the way there and ordered two chicken sandwiches. Was glad the food was not spoiled by the next day.

July was like that. I felt into one mishaps after another. Nothing really critical but it is just annoying. I feel really foolish. I don’t know what I am going through. Maybe it is cabin fever or whatever it is.

Thank for listening to my ranting.


Day334 enough goofing

After watching tons of videos I think I got this. At first I was surprised the fact some streamers quit their day job/schools so they could stream full time. It got me thinking if there is really that much money to be made in being a streamer / or video uploader?

The answer I found is yes and no. While the top few streamers are definitely made enough money to be comfortable for the rest of their life as an average person, it is no where near when compare the ‘main stream’ media in Hollywood or other sport celebrities are making in their field.

Streamers are still very poor compare to the tradition entertainment/media. Yet, this new media is definitely taking the world by storm and has turned everything up-side-down.

Now anyone can be a streamer. The barrier to entry is quite low. All you need is a computer (or phone), a video camera, and a mic.

I got to say though, 99% of the streamers act and talk the same way, given maybe the demographic is quite young (teens or early twenties). They are just copy cats. (As an aside, I love PewDiePie, how he sits on the floor and stream, being non-traditional or counter to the cult he started, though he is definitely still the leader).

It made me think back to when I was in middle/high school where I had to do fund raising for a club or for a trip. Streaming platform now actually doing this with the young crowd – raising money through them.

I have been watching videos on Facebook, Youtube, and Twitch. They all have some type of payment system for fan to give money! Twitch is even one step further to have a “goal” build in and is visible on their video. It gives a viewer a sense of participation. I got to give and I got to help out the streamer in reaching his/her goal.

My thought is the platform is using the streamers to farm for revenue! Yes the platform is making money from advertisment as well as a cut from the viewer’s donation!

It seems the big platforms finally have a way to to monetized social media in a very big way!

They got even the little guy to buy into their system. Those that have one or two viewers, and those that have thousand of viewers. And any who made it into the millions are gods! They all doing the same thing and accepted the platform as the fact of life, and that they have to give a cut, because they don’t have the bargain power!

Past couple weeks I have been just following the gods. I didn’t know much of them at first, but now Mr Beast, PewDiePie, Pokemane, Graham Stephan, etc. ya, I know them.

My experience is most of the time, I just can’t stand the randomness of their aimless chats or stunts. Watching them is like watching the Disney channel. I am way over of their target age group. I felt like almost a grandpa to them! Most are in their college/high schooler age, but they all talk like they are still in their early teens! For a long time I too live like a teenager and way into my adult life. In a sense I still miss those days of playing games and hanging out with friends doing stupid stuff. (DudePerfect videos, you get what I mean). I still love minecraft and many other video games.

I got to give it to them though. To be able to draw a crowd, no less a million plus people to their content is a big accomplishment and naturally there has to be a way to compensate for their time and effort. Most of these people are not one-off. They have talent to consistently entertain people (the mass) daily! Their videos go “viral” every single upload.

My favorite so far is a minecraft player, named TechnoBlade, who was considered to be the best pvp, player battling against player. Though now some say he is no longer the best, but he is still very very good.

I like all his videos because he is considered a dark horse and out of no where he comes and take the win. He is devious, at least that how he portraits himself to be. (Watch the Potato War). But I like how he is also “clean” in his speech – he said he does not curse so as to stay on the channel and not be banned, Because he wants his money! I think he is a good guy.

I just love the most is the way he thinks and it is borderline psycho…. Somehow I found that is so thrilling when I watch his videos. He is just bad (but in a very good way). I want to be just as bad as he is! A rebel! People just hates him and afraid of him. Yet he helds no personal grudge. He just likes to dominate in a game and he is so good at it. His videos are very long (full stream of 3-4 hours) – he does not edit much.

He sometimes go into telling random stories. He is very good at that. For example he went into a long way of telling that he lost his soap box one day during his college years, by telling us about lasagna and chocolate bars. Not sure how they were all related, or anything got to do with the video game he was playing. But it was very entertaining nonetheless, because you feel like it has something to do with what he was doing or about to tell you. In the end, it was just one big story that doesn’t got to do with anything. Some viewers blame him for being click bait. Because you would expect there would be some conclusion or significant why he is telling you, but none. It was all for entertainment to keep you on the stream as he played his video game.

So what this all about? Well there are entertaining stuffs out there even if it is just mindless chattering. Maybe something for everyone.

-Some are paid well enough that they quit their normal jobs.

-My observation (feeling) is that the big guy (corporations) is actually not giving these streamers enough of the advertising money they are getting.

-Hard to say…but it does open up a new market place. New jobs for the millenials / post-millenials. In a way I feel sorry for them.

-Society as a whole are now turning away from the traditional media (claiming they are fake), and turning to the new “social” media.

I’m more on the boomers side because I like my content to be coming from the mainstream media (the establishment) and not from the everyday joe. I get my news/entertainment from NPR and CNN, NYtimes, etc. The boring stuff, are the stuff I like!

What this mean to me? It never occurs to me a cultural shift is taking place and is accelerating.

I never have considered myself as part of this. But now evaluating that I am part of this new media age because I am a blogger!

My Worpress blog would not able to make much money or any actually. But I am out there too to gain “followers”, and “paid-subscribers” and “viewers”.

The idea of making money off of sharing the normal life experience seem to rub me the wrong way and maybe to you readers as well.

However, that is what some people are doing, and they are very good at this too. We just don’t realize it. I would too be going into all the streaming if I am good at it.

It makes me evaluate who I want to sponsor/support. I have been giving a few dollars here and there to various people I follow (like the hikers, Patreon people, freelance programmers, and gamers).

That now to me is the craziest thing because without realizing, I might be giving to people who really don’t need my support because they are definitely well to do (for example Mr Beast), though they all say they want your sponsorship!

I understand about fostering the things (art) you enjoy so that the artist could continue to produce their content.

I am not saying don’t support them, but realize that they maybe making tons of money off you and laughing all the way to the bank.

I have a lot to say about Mr Beast, because his videos are ones I enjoy a lot, but I will leave it maybe for a future post (hedonism, and insane money giving – not jealous here; just interesting observations).

I have just randomly chatted away like one of those videos I watched. Have a good night. Click bait.


Day333 content

I like special numbers. There is a thing my friend got me started. Like if you look at the time and the number repeats itself, such as 09:09 or 12:12, I would make a mental note – Hey this is special I should pause and remember it! Crazy right!? I have been doing it…for years…it is not like I am at 12:11 and wait for it to turn 12:12. It has to be unexpected. You would think it comes by every hour and every day, but usually such occurance is rarer than you think and that you only notice it comes only every once a while.

Another thing I do is if the month and date ended up repeating, e.g., Aug 8. This I do try to remember and wait for and I try to line up the time too Aug 8, at 8:08. I usually miss it too. I missed July 7 by a couple days.

Any way, I like to make a wish during that time. Call it Prayer or whatever. That is my special moment. You should do it too.

What all this random gibblish all about? I watched a lot of Youtube videos over the weekend. They are really all gibblish but they are also so attrative, that I can’t pull myself away. They draw eyeballs, at least mine!

I have been thinking too I need content for my blog. Not that drawing eye balls is my goal. For me, since day one I didn’t expect readers/followers but was so happy too when I got a few followers on my blog. There are a ton of bots or zombies but they are okay — nothing I can do. This is a public blog so…even if it is private I don’t think you can kick bots from following.

I feel blogging is like doing a youtube video, except maybe a lot easier. You have to put a lot of time and planning in a video even if it is just random gibblish.

So the concern of a youtuber is a blogger’s concern too. By thinking too hard on having content, it becomes like one of those youtube vids, zero content, but people still watch them.

I just wasted a post…Day 333 should have been a special blog post. Heehee, maybe this contentless post will draw in some eyeballs.


Day332 Youtube-1

I caught up on Youtube over the weekend. I have been living under a rock!

I didn’t know many of the Youtbe celebrities (US). In 2019 one of the biggest news was PewDiePie was being surpassed in ranking of the most subscribed Youtube channel by an Indian music channel and Mr Beast was doing a campaign to save him by asking people to subscribe! I didn’t know either of them at the time (I might have watched some Mr Beast Minecraft videos, but I didn’t pay so much attention at the Youtuber.

I saw the Super Bowl and saw Mr Beast’s stunt there but his message was totally over my head at the time. My relatives who were watching the Super Bowl with me was asking me what was that about!

I had my laugh this weekend watching many of their videos. Don’t even get me start on, which tries to emulate Youtube success.


Day331 Your Turn

I don’t usually share other people’s content. I just don’t promote other people’s sites or writing. It is just not me. Maybe because if I draw attention to other people, I will draw attention to myself. And my MO is not to draw attention to myself.

But I just came across a content I just want to share. I have been thinking of “how to remake my life”. Not sure why I want that to be in quote. I feel like and I know it when I started this blog is that this is my life project. I want to make a new version of me to chase after my dream, and this blog would hold me to that promise.

The video from Tim & Fin resonates so much. I watched their travel video to Vietnam and I was saying to myself, I want to to do that. Is it possible to get on a bike and travel across a foreign country without knowing the language or culture (I’m from Vietnam but to me it is foreign land).

So here it is. Of course it is on Youtube.

Watch it and tell me what you think.

I might not be as radical as them to quit my day job and travel around the world. However, it does draw to the fact what is more important in priority. Doing the things you like and have your work support what you do – even if it calls for quiting the normal 9-5 job.

They are really smart people.

Their other videos are great too. I haven’t watch much, because I just discover their channel.


Day328 some math

I spent a few days exploring various models hoping to get a sense of where this coronavirus is heading. Since I was planning a trip back to Atlanta, and I hear all this news about a surge of infection and I can see that myself, so I was trying to see if there is a maximum and how long will it last.

The short answer is no one knows. I think when I arrive in Atlanta it might be the peak of the crisis.

Things are not looking good in Atlanta. They are having 4000 infections a day in Georgia, and it is possible they might get to 10,000 like in Florida and Texas in next couple weeks. (Made me wonder on Georgia, Florida, Texas, or Arizona’s reopening stategy)

10,000 is high. I don’t think will ever get to 20,000. I finally understand the magnitude of the number. I was before thinking hey we have a million people in a city and 10x that in a state, 10,000 is just a fraction (1%, or 0.1%). Many people were saying the news are over hyping the severity of the pandemic.

I almost attempted to do my own forecast but I found many models were already available on the web. One was the SIR. (there is a website from someone making this very easy).

It divides the whole population into three groups, the Susceptible, the Infected and the Recovered.

An observation I had, was most models focus on the initial weeks of the spread where the infection point is small (like 1-1000). The time frame was usually the first 4-8 weeks.

I need a model where we are in the midst of the pandemic, where the infection is every where! And it is no long weeks, we are into months.

Another observation is most models (99%) expect to reach a steady state after a time, that is the infection would die out! This might be true with most outbreaks. Did they say there could be a second wave?

The total of infections/deaths curve when graphed would be an s curve (logistic curve). And the rate of infection would be a bell shape.

Seeing some S shape curves in a few states make me to believe too the pandemic was over.

Something I didn’t understand when I took the probability class in college when the professor kept talking about density function and I kept thinking what the heck it has to do with density.

Suddenly after couple decades, it connected. I was dividing the rate of infection by the population and graphing it. It came to me this is a density curve. I had an ureka moment. This stuff is related to probability. You can calculate the sum of the area under the curve to find the probability of an event (I used to hate words like that: Event, Random Variable, Function)

Summary/out take. I stopped my work. I am too lazy to pull data and do the math to carry it to the end. It takes too much time and effort. Playing around with different models I had some learning experience and it was useful. The practical aspect is I might be arriving in Atlanta at the peak of things this time around. Does this change my mind about taking my trip? Probably not.

Morality side: there was a sense of ‘righteous’ anger from people when they saw certain segment of the society blatantly ignoring social distancing by going to bars and beaches in the middle of a pandemic just for their pleasure, making the pandemic worse for everyone. I do too, so I have to balance out whether to travel or stay at home. (I heard this on NPR on Friday morning jul 24, also social shaming might not work so well).


Day326 Musing

This is a bit of a musing. I might get censure by this.

How bad the COVID-19? I am not a scientist or what they call it an epidemiologist.

We know it is bad when stores were closed and we get sent home. It has been more than 4 months now for my area. 6 months since it was first arrived in the US.

We saw other countries dealing with it, first China, then Korea, Italy and Spain before it got to the US. At that time it was worrying, but we still went in with doing our thing. Ad a matter of fact, I went and ran a marathon in California, around the time the first outbreak started in the US. And of course we blew it. At first, it was one or two states. But then the virus spreads uncontained to the rest of the country. By March 7, I remember clearly because a few days before, we have our first case in the washington DC area, MD, DC, and Virginia. I was worry whether my ultra marathon would be canceled that Saturday. Our race director decided to go on with the race.

Following next few days as cases “skyrocketed”, many businesses started closing and we were in a “lockdown”. The politicians didn’t want to use the word lockdown because we do not want to be like Italy or China. We were urged to stay at home.

The next few months, things started to be better. Most of the cases were happening in New York. Most of other states were spared. We slowly reopened.l businesses.

I live in Northern Virginia, Washington, DC suburb. Life has for most part returned to a bit more normal, as we are in the phase 3 of the reopening. My company is still has the work-from-home policy.

Now we are seeing an uptick in the infection number. Many southern states are entering a hotzone, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Texas, and many others.

Couple weeks ago, I traveled to Atlanta. There were concerned that I was heading into a hot zone, where cases were not as low as here where I am.

The uptick of cases bring to light the flashpoint – whether to close/revert the reopening decision, or keep going forward with the reopening.

Our nation is still as divisive as when we first entered this crisis. Many are in favor of reopening, such as having children back in the classroom. Many people – mostly politicians still arguing whether wearing masks is necessary. It is like a no-brainer for many people, yet there is a strong resistant in making this a mandatory in public places.

So here I am, I am planning a second trip to Atlanta. It seemed on my first trip there, I survived! The question is how scary/dangerous this COVID? What is statistics? What does it mean to me?

I get it that there are people who for “everyone stay put for 2-3 weeks, listen to the health official and we bend the curve”, However, it has not worked in the US. Why? Because people wouldn’t listen (including our top officials).

The question is how serious it is? Are people overeacting?

So I was trying to find some metrics to see what is safe/not safe. You would think there would be something like this available right? Some type of geiger counter like for radiation, but for COVID-19.

So unable to find any, I think New York is the most sensible state. Yes, they had a big problem before, but their ways work. They put out one for their travel restriction that anyone coming into New York is from a state that has more than 10 infections per 100000 people, should go into a 2 week quarantine.

By this standard, by now majority of the states (22), are on the quarantine list (I know, it is still under 25, not a majority yet).

Is this standard too strict? I was trying to determine should I travel to Atlanta at the end of August? Based on this alone, the answer is no. When I was in Atlanta at the begining of July, Georgia had 27 daily infections per 100000 people. Now it is over 40 and is continue climbing up. A few states Florida, Texas, Arizona are between at 40-50. How bad is it?

I was thinking where is the red line? What is the maximum possible? Is it 3 times that or 5 times that? I think I would probably be reluctant to travel if it is at 50-60 mark. 80-90? 150? Any state ever reaches 150? Will we have a real shut down if we get to 350? At what point where the system will become ‘critical’ or uncontaineable?

Those states having over 40 daily infections/100000 are in serious problem? They are saying it is not as bad as what New York was. Georgia doesn’t think so. The governor is sueing cities mayors over issuing mask mandate in the mist of this! This is on another level of insanity. Florida yesterday implemented curfew. Arkansas announced mask requirement (one of the states that was against having one).

All eyes are currently on the southern states Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Personal experience is when I was in Georgia, man, people there were not that worry anout having a mask on. I was seemed like an alien for going into a store with my mask. I was thinking, this is a hot zone, yet no one seems to be much concern about it.

Who to listen? Our president or the health officials? I love to listen when New York Governor laid it out. President is name calling. Is it the left trying to make the situation seem more dire than it is so that the President would lose his reelection?

This blog was going to go on further on the number crunching that I have been doing last two weeks, but this has gotten too long, I will do it maybe on another day.

P.S. I self-censored myself, so no number will be shown. I was going to delve into a lot of numbers. 🙂


Day324 up ahead

These two weeks have been a pause to life. There was nothing to do. More like nothing I want to do.

After the race, all the pressure is gone. I looked back at it a bit. There is a guy who is going to attempt it in six weeks (last weekend of August). I too am going to try it again. I booked my hotel and flight. I saved a bit money this time because of the price drop for flight. I could have saved much more on the hotel but I messed that up. If I booked my flight first I could get 20% on my hotel, but I booked the hotel first then the flight, so no 20% for me, that would have been $60 off. Still this second trip is already a lot cheaper.

It is silly for me to think running is a form of pressure. I think it is the good kind. I don’t like pressure I get from work with deadlines and worry about career path. If I could live and not have to work at all, that would be ideal, but unfortunately, I am a mortal like everyone else, working is a fact of life. Even millionaires work. I guess I wish I can do the things I can enjoy, like spending my time to program stuffs.

Just a few more days before my quarantine period is over – 48 more hours. I have been resting my body. For the first time, there is no ache or anything. They are all healed.

Actually, I don’t think my body took that big a damage. I can say, I am 100% back to normal and ready to do it again.

Enough digression. For next six-eight weeks, I plan to go to PA, WV, PA, and then a family camping trip.

Next weekend: would be the virtual run trip to Camp Anderson. I need to get that done in July.

The following week (last week of July), I would either rest or try Laurel highland or Seneca, in West Virginia.

Then August, I need to make a trip to Laurel Highlands. Have to start training again.

Then a week (first/second week of August) to rest up or do a local run (such snicker gap). I will leave a week unplanned. I could go down to grayson highlands if I am up for it.

Third week in August would be family camping at Buffalo Park. Really don’t want to take a day off for this even though I have plenty of PTO available (20+ days)

Fourth week of August would be my run in Atlanta again.

There is not much time. Summer is passing quickly. I need to get back to speed.

Constant high paced life and over commitment is not good. But sometimes it just can’t be helped.

PS. I have been monitoring the Covid-19 situation in Atlanta. It is not good. Based on current available projection though the end of August should have some improvements. It is possible that Atlanta would have a lower Covid-19 count than here in Northern Virginia by then. Hopefully, they won’t require me to go into quarantine once I get there.


Day323 shirt or no shirt

I am thinking of the next run. Should I wear shirt or not. I probably will but going to be in short sleeves.

Nothing to write about. All so peaceful at home.

Today is payday! I finally after 3 years maybe, have enough money to pay off my loan 🙂 Reach a Break even point. I used to have more money saved up (3-6 months of income). Then I started travelimg, running, and brought a car (3 cars actually), and also put more money in my retirement account, so about 5 years ago I started to get into debt and have been trying to dig myself out since then. Today there is a light at the end of the tunnel!